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OR — 


Materialism, Immortality of the Soul ; 

Conditional Immortality or Annihilationism ; 

Universalism or Restorationism ; 

Optimism or Eternal Hope ; 
Probationism and Purgatory. 


(Ex-Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada,) 

Author of "The Heaveni-y Vision;" "Christ and Christian Life;" 
'' Warning and Welcome ; " Etc 

With Illustrative Nctes from the Writings of Emment British and 
American Scientists and Theologians 

— ALSO — 

Additional papers prepared especially lor this Book, by the Rev. 
Wm. McLaren, D. D., Professor of Systematic Theology, Knox 
College, Toronto; Rev. A. Carman, D. D., General Superin- 
tendent of the Methodist Church ; Rev. J. W. Shaw, 
M. A., LL. B., Professor, Methodist Theological 
College, Montreal ; Rev. Wm. Stewart. D. D., 
Baptist Church ; Rev. John Burton, B. D., 
Congregational Church, Toronto ; and 
Archbishop Lynch, Toronto. 


from dantf.'s "infern'i" and 'purgatory and paradise " 




Eiitered accorJino to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the Year Eif^lifeeu 

Hundred and Eighty-five, by Bradley, Garretson & Co., iu 

the Oflice of the Minister of Agriculture. 


"^ HE Doctrine ot Future Punishment has for many years 
;,' ^ engaged the attention of thinking minds, on both sides 
the Atlantic. Notable departures from the old faith 
have but stimulated enquiry, and led to greater study 
of those portions of God's word which treat of this all- 
important truth. The result cannot be otherwise than bene- 
Although in the somewhat severe conflict of opinions, the 
discussion may not always seem profitable or promotive of Christian 
charity, yet in the end it must lead to a more intelligent conception 
of the truth, and a deeper reverence for the Volume of inspiration. 
This treatise has been written and compiled at the request of 
the Publishers, to meet a felt want in many Christian homes. Vol- 
umes by specialists in Science and Theology abound, but these for 
the most part are beyond the capacity and comprehension of the 
ordinary reader, and only treat of some one phase of the question, 
with which the writer is specially concerned. An attempt has been 
made in the present work to discuss, however cursorily, nearly all 
the leading views held regarding the future punishment of the 
wicked, in the simplest possible language, and at the same time to 
include in the Notes and separate papers, the more scholarly and 
abstruse discussions of thoughtful minds, both in the old world and 
the new. To students, therefore, as well as to the general reader, 
it is hoped that the volume may at least be helpful, if not 

Instead of proceeding at once to discuss the doctrine of Univer- 
salism, as opposed to the orthodox view held by Evangelical 


churches, the tcnchlnj^s of Materialism are first considered. For, if 
as is allc;j;cd by Materiah'sts, there is no immortah'ty for man, it is 
useless to discuss the different opinions held as to the nature or 
duration of punishment, in a state which has no existence. Is there 
a future state? Is the present the precursor of an endless exist- 
ence? Is man an accountable being? or is the grave an eternal 
sleep, and heaven and hell mere speculations, without anything 
approaching reality? Such questions meet us on the very thresh- 
hold of the subject, and demand consideration before all others. 

Following this and closely connected with the main question, 
several chapters have been devoted to a consideration of " Condi- 
tional Immortality," "Optimism,": Probationism, Purgatory and 
Agnosticism ; until finally, and at greater length, the old orthodo.x 
view of Eternal Punishment is discussed, as opposed to modern 
rationalism and restorationism : — theories — which if we rightly 
judge, undermine all faith worthy of the name, and rob the Al- 
mighty of His holiest and most glorious attributes. 

Those who e.xpect to find in this Volume, a mere "symposium " 
of the different opinions held regarding Future Punishment, will be 
disappointed. While an earnest endeavor has been made, not to 
misrepresent the views held by those who are at variance with the 
Evangelical Creed, no uncertain sound is given as to the opinions 
held by the several writers. I know that it is said by some, that 
old-fashioned doctrinal preaching is dying out : that old doctrines 
have sunk into oblivion : that future retribution is now only alluded 
to : that eternal punishment is never taught in the pulpit of to-day ; 
and that in the few instances where the orthodo.x creed is held, the 
prosperity of the church is blighted, the pulpit loses its power over 
tiie masses, vital religion dies out, sanctuaries are deserted, and edu- 
cated men become infidels ! Those who speak thus, wilfully mis- 
represent facts. In Canada and the United States, the pulpit was 
never more definite and outspoken regarding the Doctrine of Eter- 
nal I'uiiishmcnt than at the present moment ; orthodo.x congrega- 


tions were never more numerous and aggressive, and contributions 
to missions never more liberal. 

To those of my brethren in the different churches, who have so 
kindly aided me in the preparation of this Volume, my best thanks 
are due. Without their contributions, the discussion of this mo- 
mentous question would have been far less valuable than it is. 

I trust that the Publishers, who have undertaken the responsi- 
bility of issuing the Volume, and all who ma\' promote its circula- 
tion, may feel, that apart from any monetary return, they have 
aided in the defence of " the faith, once delivered to the saints." 

Finally, and in the words of another : " Whatever, be the fate 
of human speculations on this tremendous topic, be it ours to cul- 
tivate the simplicity of faith which is independent of them. Even 
though in its vastness and mystery it continue to rebuke our feeble 
reason, let it stand in the naked simplicity of fact ; a truth great, 
and terrible and certain ; planted deep in the nature of God's attri- 
butes, and, therefore, unfathomable as all things that are of Him ; 
but withal addressing itself to the simplest and strongest feelings 
of man, his dread of pain, his horror of shame, and misery, and 
death ; meeting him at every turn to evil, and casting a fearful 
shadow across those pleasures that are not of God, and those glories 
where God's glory is forgotten ; meeting him at the first fatal step 
upon that course which ends in the abyss of woe it denounces, and 
warning him at once to flee the bondage of seductions which grow 
as they are obliged, and strengthen with every victory ; warning 
him that all the temporal results of sin — are but shadows of the 
overwhelming penalty it brings, when the mercy, which still re- 
strains to these limits the fulness of divine vengeance shall have 
ceased ; and the sin and the punishment which are now but tem- 
porary, passing together into the world of eternity, and still, as ever, 
bound in inseparable links, shall become themselves alike eternal." 

Brantford, Ontario, 


Note. — The following Authors, among others, have been con- 
sulted or quoted, in the preparation of this volume : 

Abbott, Lyman Dr. 
Abler, Professor Felix 
Allon, Dr. Henry 
Argyll, His Grace the Duke of 


Barnes, Dr. Albert 
Bartlett, Professor 
Bascom, President John 
Beecher, Dr. Lyman 
Beecher, H. W. 
Brady, Rev'd Cheyne 
Breckenridge, Dr. R. J. 
Brewster, Sir David 
BusHNELL, Dr. Horace 

Caird, Principal 
Candlish, Principal 
Carlyle, Thomas 
Clemance, Dr. Clement 
Cook, Rev'd Joseph 
Constable, Rev'd H. 
Cumming, Dr. John 

Dale, Dr. R. W. 


Darwin, Professor 

Dawson, Sir J. W. 

Delitzsch, Professor 

Dick, Dr. John 

Edwards, Dr. Jonathan 
K.MERSON, R.\lph Waldo 

Farrar, Canon 
Franklin, Benjamin 
Fraser, Dr. William 

Haeckel, Professor 
Harrison, Frederick 
Hirschfelder, Professor 
Hodge, Dr. Charles 
Hugo, Victor 
Hume, David 
Huxley, Professor 

Kellogg, Professor S. H. 
KiNGSLEY, Rev'd Charles 
KiTTO, Dr. John 
Knapp, Dr. G. C. 

Leighton, Archbishop 
Lyell, Professor 

Mathieson, Dr. George 
Maurice, Professor F. D. 
Hunger, Dr. T. T. 

McCosH, Dr. James 
McGiLVRAY, Dr. Walter 
McLeod, Dr. Donald 
McLeod, Dr. Norman 

Newton, Sir Isaac 

Parker, Theodore 
Patterson, Dr. Robert 
Patton, Dr. F. L 



Pearson. Bishop 
Petti Nc; ELL, Rev'd J. II 
Phelps, Professor 
Plumptre, Professor 
PuNSHON, Dr. Morley 
PusEV, Dr. E. B. 

Rogers, Proeessor-George 
Robertson. Rev'd F. W. 
Robinson, Dr. Stuart 

Saurin, Rev. James 
Shedd, Professor W. T. G. 
Smith, Professor Henry B. 
Smith, Professor Joseph H'y 

Spencer, IIkrbI'.rt 
Spurgeon, Rev'd C. II. 
Stuart, Professor Moses 
Symington, Dr. A. Macleod 


Thornwell, Dr. J. H. 
Thompson, Dr. J. P. 


Wallace, Professor 
Watts, Dr. Robert 
White, Rev'd Edward 
Whittier, J. G. 


'INTRODUCTORY. Different views held as to a future 
'f^j ^ . . . 

state. The Materialistic — Annihilationist — Optimistic 

— Probationist — Romish — Dantean — Agnostic — Uni" 

versalist — And Orthodox. 
Materialism. — Man nothing but a Material Organism, 
whose conscious existence terminates at death — The theory 
in some form or other advocated for thousands of years — Prevalent 
in China three hundred years before the christian era. Teaches 
that every particle of matter is endued with life. Common distinc- 
tion between mind and matter ignored. The Universe always has 
existed, and must continue to exist for ever. At death man as an 
individual ceases to exist, but the forces which belong to him enter 
into the composition of other men. All existence traced to matter, 
which never having been created cannot be destroyed. Immateri- 
ality and Spirituality, meaningless words. Feeling, thought and 
will, only modifications of the nerves and brain. Belief in a future 
life a dream and a delusion. Materialists not all agreed as to the 
value of the conclusions aimed at. Some disown the name. Quo- 
tations from Haeckel, Huxley and Tyndall. 

Evolution. — Differs from Materialism, Does not do away 
with the necessity of a Creator. The present course of nature, a 
development of original and infinitely early laws, Man the legiti- 
mate offspring of the bestial race by a link of unbroken succession ^ 
The chemic lump shapes itself into the human form, and withir 


the recesses of the human brain assumes a spiritual character, and 
thinks. Baselessness of such a theory shown, by quotations from 
the writings of MacGilvray, Newton, Sir David Brewster, and 
others ; with Notes on Materialism and Evolution from the writings 
of Professor Lyell, Alfred Russell Wallace, Professor Joseph Henry 
Smith, Dr. R. Patterson, Professor Henry B. Smith, Dr. Charles 
Hodge, The Duke of Argyle, Thomas Carlyle, Dr. James McCosh, 
and Sir J. W. Dawson. 

The Immortality of the Soul. — Arguments drawn from 
(a) The almost universal belief of mankind, (b) The Analogy of 
Nature, (c) Reason, (d) Revelation. Doctrine of a future state 
held by nearly all nations. To what is this to be traced ? Greek 
and Roman mythology, Chinese, African and Hindoo worship, all 
recognize existence beyond the grave. The Mahommedan creed 
gives prominence to the doctrine. Nothing in nature opposed to 
it. Death destroys the sensible proof, but gives no reason for sup- 
posing that the grave ends the aspirations of the life. Yearnings 
after a future existence. Proof of the immortality of the soul from 
the general law of adaptation. Dr. Chalmers' Bridgewater treatise. 
The present condition of the world, and the unequal distribution of 
rewards and punishments demand it. Clearly announced in Scrip- 
ture. Translation of Enoch and Elijah. Testimony of Moses, 
David, Solomon, the Apostles, and Christ himself. Professor 
Hirschfelder's argument, founded on the creation of man. Job's 
words, " I know that my Redeemer liveth." Greg's statement, 
" Immortality a matter of intuition, not of inference — the soul per- 
petually reveals itself." Opinions of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lord 
Byron and others ; with Notes on the Immortality of the Soul, 
from the writings of Dr, R.J. Breckcnridge, President Bascom, and 
Rev. Dr. T. T. Munger. 

Conditional Immortality, or Anniiiilationism. — Im- 
mortality not natural, inherent and unconditional, but bestowed 
only upon the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, rromlncnt advo- 

CONTEiNTb. 13 

cates of the doctrine. Condensed statement of their views. Scrip- 
ture texts cited and examined in support of and against. Meaning 
ot the Greek words, " Olethros," " Apollumi," " Apolonto," &c. 
Rev. George Rogers on the Annihilation theory. Argument from 
the mercy of God. Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus consid- 
ered. " Conditional Immortality," by the Rev. Wm. McLaren, D.D., 
Professor of Systematic Theology, Knox College, Toronto. 

Optimism. — Canon Farrar's " Eternal Hope." — Rejects 
Universalism, Annihilationism, and Purgatory (as held by Roman 
Catholics). Agrees with the teachings of the Evangelical Churches, 
that sin cannot be forgiven, until repented of and forsaken. Rejects 
physical torments, and the doctrine that endless punishment is the 
doom of all who die in a state of sin. Canon Farrar's exaggerated 
statements as to the views held by orthodox christians. No valid 
Scriptural grounds assigned for this " Eternal Hope." Quotations 
from writers holding similar views. Tendency of the theory to 
unsettle. Of no practical benefit. Gives men an excuse for con- 
tinuance in sin. Easy to understand what is denied — difficult to 
discover what is believed. Canon Farrar's justification of his posi- 
tion and the circumstances of publication, unsatisfactory. Reply 
by Dr. Allon. Canon Farrar's views of Sternal Punishment as 
given in his life of Christ. The true grounds of hope. The Cer- 
tainty of Endless Punishment, with special reference to the views 
of Canon Farrar, by the Rev'd W. T. G. Shedd, D. D., Professor in 
Union Theological Seminary, New York. 


PROBATIONISM DEFINED. — Differs from Optimism and pur- 
gatorial purification. Various opinions as to when probation ends. 
Testimony of Scripture regarding the theory. Arguments against 
Probationism and Universalism similar. Salvation entirely the 


result of faith in Jesus Ciirist, without future probation or purga- 
torial suffering. Cardinal Wiseman's testimony. Practical results 
of such a theory. Wherever philosophy has taught, that "the 
gods do not punish" licentiousness has prevailed. Illustrations 
from the degeneracy of the Roman Empire. Effect of the writings 
of Voltaire, Diderot and others. Mohammed and the poison cup. 
The poetr>^ of repentance beyond the grave. Whittier's earlier and 
later convictions. 

Purgatory. — A state of preparation and purification, prior to 
entrance upon everlasting bliss. Quotations from Catholic Period- 
cals. The doctrine in a modified sense held by such writers as 
Canon Farrar. The arguments from Scripture in favor of purga- 
tory examined. Christ's preaching to the spirits in prison. The 
unpardonable sin, or sin against the Holy Ghost. Personality of 
the Holy Ghost. His work. In what does the sin consist. Is it 
one act or a series of acts. Different views. Evidence that such 
a sin has been committed. 

The Dantean Theory of Physical Suffering.— Few 
Christians now retain it as an article of belief. The Church of 
Rome merely says " that it is dangerous to deny that future pun- 
ishment may be physical." The Hell of Dante real. The lake of 
fire and brimstone not figurative, but actual representations of 
future torment. Sketchof the Poet's life. Birth — education — appli- 
cation to study — attainments and accomplishments. His love for 
Beatrice Portinari. His public and political life. Exile and return 
to Florence. Earlier works but little known. His greatest effort 
" The Divine Commedia," comprising " The Inferno," " The Pur- 
gatorio," and the " Paradiso." Begun about the year 1300 — finished 
probably about 1320. Brief description of the poems. Specimen 
stanzas taken from "The Inferno," illustrating the awful sufferings 
of the lost. Character of Dante's genius. Results of his life. His 
last days and death. His tomb at Ravenna. Notes on Proba- 
tionism and Purgatory from the writings of Professor S. H. Kellogg, 


Professor E. H. Plumptre, Dr. John Dick, Dr. John Brown, and Dr. 
Charles Hodge. 

AcxoSTltlSM. — Its Athenian prototype. Gnostics and Agnos- 
tics compared. Agnosticism denies the cardinal doctrines of the 
Christian creed. Believes neither in mind, matter, nor God. Not 
a new heresy, though formerly called by other names. The Agnos- 
tic creed. Agnostics refuse to be called Atheists — they only ignore 
God. They worship the " Great Unknown," assured that IT IS. 
Opinions of Drs. McCosh and Caird. The Agnostic denial of a 
God leads to the denial of man's personality and a future state. Of 
such a state there is a possibility, but no hope. To expect it, is 
weak and ignoble. Man's ideal existence is in the lives of others 
only. Theists admit that there are many things which the human 
mind cannot grasp : they must be accepted by faith. Yet God is 
not unknowable. Spurgeon's description of the Agnostic creed. 
Agnostics not examples of humility. Boastful of human reason. 
Tendencies of the theory — Fails to satisfy the yearnings of the soul 
— affords no consolation in the hour of trial — takes away a religious 
faith, and puts nothing in its place but the unknowable ! Such a 
creed can never be accepted by the great body of any people. With 
notes and an additional paper on " Agnosticism " by the Rev. James 
McCosh, D. D., and the Rev. John Burton, B. D., Northern Con- 
gational Church, Toronto. 

UniverSALISM, or RestORATIONISM. — The word used in two 
senses. Summary of what Universalists believe in common with 
other Christians and what they reject. The Orthodox or Evan- 
gelical view of future punishment, as opposed to Universalism. 
Universalists seldom confine themselves to the question at issue, 
but misrepresent the orthodox creed. Jonathan Edward's writings 
often quoted for this purpose. Such criticism unfair. Makes no 
allowance for the rhetoric of impassioned preachers. Quotations 
from other theologians, Pusey, Archer Butler, Professor Mansel and 
Spurgeon. Drs. Hodge, Phelps, and Bartlett on the Metaphors 


and Symbols of Scripture. While often too literally pressed, they 
represents dreadful realities. Universalists admit that sins com- 
mitted and unpardoned in the present life must be dealt with in 
the next. After death, however, the worst specimens of human 
beings shall be reclaimed. Sin is misfortune without guilt. God 
cannot consistently doom men to endless retribution. The ortho- 
dox view is that sin perpetuates itself — that with no remedial influ- 
ences it increases in heinousness, from one degree of wickedness to 
another, without possibility of change. Quotations from the writ- 
ings of Swedenborg, Joseph Cook, Dr. Albert Barnes, Andrew 
Jukes, Professors Watts and Phelps. The objection considered, that 
eternal punishment is against the justice and benevolence of God. 
Arguments from Scripture considered. The true meanings of the 
words '• Aeon," " Aionios," and " Aionial." The conclusions arrived 
at regarding them by Professor Moses Stuart and others. Th: 
broad thinkers of the day not, as alleged, Universalists. Views of 
Charles Kingsley, F W. Robertson, Norman McLeod, and others. 
Summary of the arguments advanced in behalf of the orthodox 
creed. Positive objections to Universalism. Antagonistic to the 
teachings of God's Word. Leads to utter rejection of the funda- 
mental truths of Christianity. Universalism tested by the number 
of its adherents and its actual results, gives no cause for alarm. 
Few unhesitatingly accept it as a ground of trust. Growth of the 
sect marvellously slow, compared with that of other churches. Does 
little for the good of society or the amelioration of present wrongs ; 
with Notes and Additional papers on Future Punishment, by Rev. 
Principal Cairns, D. D., Rev. Francis L. Patton, D. D., LL. D., 
Princeton, N. J., Rev. James Saurin, Rev. Stuart Robinson, D. D., 
Rev. Wm. J. Shaw, M. A., LL. B.. Methodist Theological College, 
Montreal ; Rev. Wm. Stewart, D. D., Baptist Church, Clieltenhani ; 
Rev. A. Carman, D. D., General Superintendent of Missions, Canada 
Methodist Church ; and Archbishop Lynch, Toronto. 
Practical reflections. Index. 


EFORE discussing the question of the " Eternity ol 
future punishment," let us briefly indicate the different 

,.. -- views held as to a future state. Next to the question 

^^^ ^^ of the being of a God, no inquiry is more natural for 
every individual to make and settle, than this : " Is 
my existence limited by time, or shall I continue to 
liye throughout the endless ages of eternity ?" Upon our belief or 
rejection of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, much ol 
our happiness depends, even on this side the grave. 

The different theories held as to a future state are these : 

The Materialistic. — Man is nothing but a material organ- 
ism, whose conscious existence is terminated at death. Materialism 
is indeed but the old Sadducean disbelief in immortality — no resur- 
rection, no future life, no heaven, no hell : let us eat, drink and be 
merry, for to-morrow we die. 

The Annihilationist. — The soul is not naturally immortal, 
and can only be made immortal by union with the Saviour. The 
incorrigibly wicked shall therefore sooner or later cease to exist, for 
there is no future for any but believers in Christ. 


The Optimistic. — Affirming neither the Univcrsah'st nor Res- 
torationist nor Agnostic theories, it indulges in an eternal hope. 
Canon Farrar, who occupies this position, says, that although he 
cannot preach the certainty of Universalism, he must yet lift up, 
behind the darkness in the background, the hope that every winter 
will turn to spring. 

The Probationist. — Not that all men will be saved, but that 
those who die impenitent will have a second chance, and that those 
who do not improve it, will fall into eternal sin, and go into eternal 
punishment. Men may thus secure the pardon after death, which 
they failed to secure while they lived on earth. 

The Romish. — There is a hell, and there reprobate angels and 
lost men arc eternally punished. While not teaching authoritatively 
that future punishment will be physical, it asserts that it is danger- 
ous to deny that it will be so. 

The Dantean. — There is a hell, and its punishment is phy- 
sical and real. Such descriptions of future torment as " the lake of 
fire and brimstone" are not figurative, but literal and actual repre- 
sentations of the awful future in store for impenitent souls. 

The Agnostic. — We know nothing whatever about the future 
state. Nature throws no light upon the question, and the Bible 
reveals nothing of a definite character to solve the mystery. No 
one has ever come back to tell us anything in regard to his welfare 
beyond the grave. We are therefore at liberty to think as we 
please. There may be, and there may not be, a future world. 
When a man dies, that may be the end of him, or he may enter 
some fair land, to be forever free from the ills of the present life ! 

The Universalist or Restorationist. — All men will be 
ultimately saved and restored to the favor of God. Sooner or later 
all will reach heaven. The Universalist Creed is as follows : " We 
believe that there is one God, whose nature is love, revealed in one 
Lord Jesus Christ, b)' one Holy Spirit of grace, who will finally 


restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness." 
One of our best known poets, expressing this hope of final res- 
toration, says : 

" Oh yet we trust that somehow good 

'Will be the final goal of all; 

To pangs of nature, sins of will, 
Defects of doubt and taints of blood: 

That nothing walks with aimless feet, 
That not one life shall be destroyed, 
Or cast as rubbish to the void, 

When God hath made the pile complete." 

The Orthodox. — Future punishment is everlasting. At death 
the state is fixed for eternity. No man who dies impenitent will, 
after death, change his character and obtain pardon. Sin is self- 
propagating. Where sin continues punishment will continue. 
Reform in another state of existence is not supposable. Men who 
persevere in sin from the beginning to the end of life, will persevere 
in sin forever, and such as refuse forgiveness here will never obtain 
it hereafter. It is appointed unto men once to die, and afterwards 
there comes — not probation — not the offer of mercy — but the 


" What am I, whence produced, and for what end ? 
Whence drew I being, to what period tend ? 
Am I the abandoned orphan of blind chance, 
Dropp'd by wild atoms in disordered dance? 
Or from an endless chain of causes wrought, 
And of unthinking substance, born with thought, 
Am I but what I seem, mere flesh and blood, 
A branching channel, with a mazy flood ?" 

" Eternal life is Nature's ardent wish : 
What ardently we wish, we soon believe : 

Thy tardy faith declares that wish destroyed : 

What has destroyed it ? Shall I tell thee what ? 

When fear'd the future, 'tis no longer wish'd ; 

And when unwish'd, we strive to disbelieve. 

Thus infidelity our guilt betrays." 




'-'^'N CONSIDERING the different theories held regarding 
v'^4 " Eternal punishment," the question arises, is the soul 
i-^ of man immortal ? "If a man die, shall he live again?" 
^■^ If according to Materialists there is no hereafter, and 
^fl man's existence ends in the grave, there can be neither 
misery or happiness beyond the present. 

It is held by some, that man is nothing but a material organism, 
iirhose conscious existence is terminated at death. Although this 
theory is now prominently and zealously discussed by a certain 
class of scientists, as a new and better solution of creation than the 
first chapter of the book of Genesis affords, Materialism, in some 
form or other, has been advocated for thousands of years. It is 
indeed impossible to say when and where Materialism began. In 
China, three hundred years before the Christian era, it was preva- 
lent Quotations from the writings of that period might with very 
little change be accepted as the creed of the Materialists in the 
present age. Says one of these Chinese philosophers : " Wherein 
people differ, is the matter of life ; wherein they agree, is death. 
While they are alive, we have the distinctions of intelligence and 
stupidity, honourableness and meanness ; when they are dead, we 
have so much rottenness decaymg away ; — this is the common lot 


All arc born, and all die. At ten years old some die, at a hundred 
years old some die. The virtuous and the sage die : the ruffian 
and the fool also die. Alive they may be the most virtuous of men ; 
dead, they are so much rotten bone. When about to die, therefore, 
let us treat the thing with indifference and endure it, and so 

Materialism, according to its principal exponents, teaches that 
•natter is endued with life ; that every particle of matter, besides its 
physical properties, has a principle of life in itself, which precludes 
the necessity of assuming any other cause for the phenomena of life 
exhibited in the world. It ignores the common distinction made 
between matter and mind, and refers the phenomena of the world, 
whether physical, vital or mental, to the functions of matter. The 
Universe always has existed, and must continue to exist for ever. 
As defined by one of themselves : " The Materialistic theory is that 
there is but ONE existence, the Universe, and that it is eternal 
— without beginning or end — that the matter of the Universe never 
could have been created, for ex nihilo nihil fit (from nothing nothing 
can come), and that it contains within itself the potency adequate 
to the production of all phenomena. This we think to be more 
conceivable and intelligent than the Christian theory that there are 
two existences — God and the Universe — and that there was a time 
when there was but one existence, God, and that after an indefinite 
period of quiescence and " masterly inactivity," He finally created 
a Universe either out of Himself or out of nothing — cither one of 
which propositions is philosophically absurd." The soul is thus 
material, and ceases to exist when the bod)- dies. Death is the 
cessation, not only of the vital but also of the intellectual functions 
of the individual. The atoms of which the man is composed, with 
the forces which belong to him continue to exist, and ma}' enter 
into the composition of other men. But the man as AN INDIXIDUAL 
CEASES TO EXIST. From this it follows, that as there is neither 
mind or spirit, there is no God and no moral law, and no future 


state of existence for man. " Every great man (says Comte) has 
two forms of existence : one conscious before death, the other after 

All existence is thus traced to mere matter. The best known 
and most widely read materialistic text books teach, that matter i^ 
eternal and independent of Almighty will ; that nothing exists, 01 
can exist, that is not material ; that matter and force are insepar- 
able, eternal and indestructible ; that inorganic and organic forms 
are simply the result of different accidental combinations of matter ; 
that life is a particular combination of matter, taking place under 
favorable circumstances ; that the soul is a function of material 
organization, and thought a movement of matter. The physical 
universe is the one self-existent necessary eternal being : all sen- 
tient, and each part performing its appropriate function. The world 
was uncaused, and exists solely of itself. Since matter is, MATTER 
MUST ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. It cannot be destroyed, and conse- 
quently cannot be created. It is without END, AND THEREFORE 
WITHOUT BEGINNING. It is the basis of all life, and ALL LIVING 
of life is composed and built up of ordinary matter, differing from 
it only in the manner in which its atoms are aggregated. It is again 
resolved into ordinary matter, when its work is done. Under what- 
ever disguise it takes refuge, WHETHER WORM OR MAN, THE LIVING 

It follows from this, that immateriality and spirituality are 
meaningless words. Feeling, thought and will, are only modifica- 
tions of the nerves of the brain. Belief in a future life is a dream 
and a delusion. The grave receives the whole of man. In a literal 
sense, the poet's words fitly express such a creed : 

" Thou art safe ! 
The sleep of death protects thee, and secures 
I^^-om all the unnumbered woes of mortal life." 


Upon this materialistic theory, consciousness, intclh'gcncc, thous^ht 
and moral sense, are but the highest development of the faculty, 
* by which the lichen draws nutriment from the air or the rock." 
The conscious, intelligent, thinking moral being, is as much a mate- 
rial substance as the lichen. Its intellectuality is due to the organ- 
isation to which it has attained, that is, to a certain combination of 
its material elements and the forces with which they are endowed. 
Consequently, when in each particular instance or product, the 
organisation ceases to act, the combination is dissolved, and the 
separate individual intelligence, — what we call mind and soul, — 
vanishes entirely. What we call a spiritual essence is only a devel- 
oped animal nature, the difference between man and beasts being 
not one of kind, but of degree. Humanity is only a higher degree 
of Animality. We have no right, according to materialism, to sup- 
pose or expect a personal immortality. Men may indeed be said 
to live after death in the memory of their fellow men, but OTHER 
states are of the brain, when the body dies, the man ceases to exist. 
The brain is, according to this atheistic theory, the soul — the part 
of the body which thinks — which is endowed with fibres of thinking, 
just as the legs have muscles of motion. Death, which destroj's 
the rest of the body, destroys the brain, the so-called soul. When 
death comes the farce of human life is played out ! 

There is, therefore, according to this hypothesis, no ground for 
expecting in a future life reward or punishment. The only immor- 
tality is that when the body is disintegrated it will enrich the earth, 
nourish plants, and feed other generations of men. Death is an 
eternal sleep. The mind cannot exist apart from the body, as it 
cannot come into existence without the body. What is dissolved 
at death is devoid of sensation, and therefore death is sim.ply an 
escape from the ills of life. There is no God, no fate, no other 
world, no recompense for acts. Prosperity is heaven, and adversity 
is hell, and there is no other heaven or hell. Entire human disso- 


lution is coincident with death. Life is only a phenomenon, and 
death joins us to the unreturning past. All that is good of us 
race we have served is our sepulchre. " The man of overwrought 
brain, used up, worn-out feelings : the distempered dreamer : the 
reckless worker of wrongs : the disappointed striver for an earthly 
crown, all shall have a common slumber, unconscious, impervious, 
unbroken. The opiate comes at last — oblivion ! An overshadow- 
ing that covers all." 

" Cessation is true rest 
And sleep for them oppres't, 
And not to be — is blest. 

Annihilation is 

A better state than this ; 

Better than woe or bliss. 

The name is dread : the thing 
Is death without a sting: 
An overshadowing !" 

Thus materialism looks down the gulf of annihilation, and amiV. 
th? troubles of a godless existence, feels something like a morbid 
satisfaction in the thought, that the present scene is the whole of 
man. Such a system is essentially atheistic. It denies the exist- 
ence and necessity of a God, and the immortality of the soul. 
Professor Huxley, after delineating the leading features of his phil- 
osophy, says : "In accepting these conclusions, you are placing 
your feet on the first rung of a ladder, which in most people's esti- 
mation is the reverse of Jacob's, and leads us to the antipodes of 
heaven. I should not wonder if " gross and brutal materialism " 
were the mildest phrase applied to them in certain quarters. Most 
undoubtedly the terms of the propositions are DISTINCTLY MATE- 
RIALISTIC. Nevertheless I can discover no logical halting place 
between admitting, that the matter of the animal and the thoughts 
to which I give utterance, are SIMPLY CHANGES IN THAT MATTER 
OF LIFE, which is the source of vital phenomena." 


Materialists are, however, by no means agreed, as to the value 
of tlic conclusions arrived at. Some of them disown the name by 
which they are known, although it is of their own choosing. While 
Professor Hackel says, " that materialism is now established on 
evidence which places it beyond dispute, and that the time has 
come to teach it to children in the form of a catechism". Professor 
Huxley retorts by saying : " I am no materialist, but on the con- 
trary, believe materialism to involve grave philosophical error. The 
materialistic position, that there is nothing in the world but matter, 
force and necessity, is as utterly devoid of justification, as the most 
baseless of theological dogmas. All who are competent to express 
an opinion (upon the mode of creation) agree, that the manifold 
varieties of animal and vegetable form, have not come into exist- 
ence by chance, nor result from capricious exertions of creative 
power ; but that they have taken place in a definite order, the 
statement of which order is what men of science term natural law. 
The plastic matter out of which the smallest animal is formed, 
undergoes changes so steady and purpose-like in their succession, 
that one can only compare them to those operated by a skilled 
modeler upon a formless lump of clay. One is almost possessed by 
the notion that some more subtle aid to vision than an achromatic 
would show the hidden artist with his plan before him., striving with 
skilful manipulation to perfect his work." And in his article on 
Biology, contributed by Professor Huxley to the new edition of the 
EncyclopcTedia Brittannica, he says : " The fact is that at the pres- 
ent moment there is not a shadow of trustworthy direct evidence 
that abiogenesis (life from the lifeless) does take place, or has taken 
place within the period during which the existence of life on the 
globe is recorded. But it need hardly be pointed out that the fact 
does not in the slightest degree interfere with any conclusions that 
may be arrived at deductively from other considerations, that at 
some time or other abiogenesis must have taken place." Yet strange 
to say, while rejecting the materialistic creed, and expressing his 


ubhorrence of any theory that teaches that mind is matter, thought 
nothing but a movement of matter, and the soul material, — all his 
philosophical and psychological enquiries proceed on the supposi- 
tion, that such propositions are true — that life and thought are the 
product of a certain disposition of and changes in material molecules! 
And finally. Professor Tyndall admits that while materialism presents 
itself as an intelligible theory of the universe, IT HAS NEVER YET 
sciousness. It hopes some day to be able to show us future 
Shakespeares, " potential in the fires of the sun," but as yet cannot 
find the faintest sensations of the meanest insect. 

While we think there can be no dispute in any candid mind 
that materialism is atheistic, it is not asserted that all so-called 
Materialists are Atheists. Some admit the being of a God, to whom 
they refer the creation of the world, although the number of such 
illogical materialists is small. And in order to reconcile their views 
with belief in the Almighty, they substitute the Development 
theory, or Evolution, which in recent years has been discussed in 
the " Vestiges of the Creation," and the voluminous writings of 
Charles Darwin, the eminent naturalist 


Wherein this theory differs from materialism, and wherein it 
equally fails to satisfy the demands of science and religion, is worth)'- 
of consideration. It does not do away with the necessity of a 
Creator. The method of his working is simply on such a suppo- 
sition changed, but the fact of his existence remains. W^hence 
came matter, with its marvellous adaptations and development? 
" So far from superseding an intelligent agent, the Development 
theory only exalts our conceptions of the ultimate skill and power, 
that could comprehend such an infinity of future uses, under future 
systems, in the original groundwork of creation." God might have 


originated the species b}- a law of development, just as he continues 
this world and all that it contains, by the constancy of law. The 
r.ccessity of a first great cause is as consistent and compatible with 
the one scheme as the other. But as has been observed, mere belief 
in the existence of a God, without belief in the immortality of the 
soul and in the scheme of salvation by a Mediator and Redeemer, 
is of as little ethical value as a belief in the existence of the great 
sea serpent. 

Among other things, so far as we can gather its leading prin- 
ciples from its numerous advocates. Evolution holds that the present 
course of nature is a development of original and infinitely early 
laws, primarily due to matter : the nebulous became the solid : the 
solid distinguished and separated : the inanimate by imperceptible 
degrees became anim.ate, and so on into more perfect forms and 
nobler instincts. All the forms and processes of nature are evolved 
from the operation of certain laws, inherent in nature itself, working 
in the way of gradual progression and improvement, each class or 
order of existing creatures containing in itcelf aii that is essential 
to the class or order above it. The primary basis of vegetable and 
animal life consists of a globule of matter, from which by the oper- 
ation of chemical causes, a generative germ is produced. This 
germ, after passing through a formative process, gradually assumes 
the shape of a plant. This plant improves in structure, and gives 
birth to a new order of plants, of a higher and better type than 
itself, and they in turn repeat the same process. Thus by a course 
of transformation and development, one class of vegetable produc- 
tions rises above another, according to a regularly graduated scale, 
until at last we reach animated nature. From the point of junction 
of vegetable and animal life, the different grades of living creatures 
steadily advance in structural development, each grade surpassing 
the in complexity and completeness of organization, until the 
crowning work is reached in man, in whom the best features of the 
whole are combined. 


If this is the position of man in the scale of creation, it makes 
him the legitimate offspring of the bestial race, by a line of ascend- 
ing gradation, but at the same time of unbroken succession : a line 
which leads him down through the beast, the bird, the reptile, the 
fish, the mollusc and the worm, until he finds his origin in a chem- 
ical lump of matter. As a materialist expresses it, "the chemic 
lump arrives at the plant, and grows : arrives at the quadruped, and 
walks : arrives at man, and thinks." That is, the chemic lump, by 
its own inherent energies, moves on towards those different steps of 
promotion. It is the same lump that shapes itself into the goodly 
proportions of the human form, and there seated as on a throne 
within the recesses of the human brain, assumes a spiritual character 
and thinks." 

Such a theory, it would seem, needs only to be stated to carry 
with it its own refutation. Its baselessness on scientific grounds, 
and its unreasonableness or absurdity on moral grounds, have repeat- 
edly been shown. To expose all the fallacies and assumptions that 
underlie it, is beyond the immediate purpose of this volume, and 
would tax unduly the patience of the general reader. Suffice it, 
that we present the following condensed summary of one of the 
earliest replies made to the theory, as indicating how vulnerable it 
is, when critically examined. The late Rev. Walter McGilvray, D.D., 
in his treatise entitled " The Sadducees of Science," thus writes : 

" To make such a theory credible, there are many assertions 
and assumptions that have yet to be proved. Among these may 
be mentioned the statement, regarding the gradual procession of 
the different races of creatures, from each other. ' Like produces 
like,' has hitherto been regarded as the established law of nature, 
nor has anything yet been brought forward by the advocates of 
" Evolution " to a contrary conclusion. Not a single example has 
been given )f the operation of a different law. Countless myriads 
of seeds are daily germinating, yet it has never been found that the 


seed borne by any one plant has produced a species different from 
its parent. Individual varieties of the same species may be, and 
have been frequently propagated, but no example of transmutation 
from one generic class to another. This holds true, also, of the 
animal kingdom. Experiments have been made without number 
to effect a change of species, but without success, so that the theor}' 
of spontaneous generation, and progressive transition, is a theory 
that yet remains without a shadow of proof Nor does the likeness 
traced between the physical construction of the human race, and 
that of the inferior creatures, afford any foundation for the theory 
of Evolution. Comparative anatomy proves beyond a doubt, that 
the organic productions of nature all proceed upon the same funda- 
mental plan, but this resemblance is only an example of that beau- 
tiful unity of design which pervades the w^ork of creation : which 
binds its various points together into one connected system, bespeak- 
ing the skill of a Supreme directing Intelligence, in the precise 
adjustment of its complicated elements, and their harmonious co- 
operation to the production of a common end. Can we suppose, 
that the power which has brought into existence such a mass of 
magnificent materials, and built them up into a fabric so symmetri- 
cal and sublime in its proportions as the human frame itself, is a 
mere property of matter, the simple, natural development of a 
chemic lump — that a particle of dust has been converted into the 
mind of a Milton and the heavenly soul of a Paul? 

" But even supposing that there is a physiological connection 
between the lower animals and man, this is not sufficient evidence 
that they derive their different measures of intelligence from the 
same source. That mind is the product of matter is the assumption 
of materialists, and the more complete the organisation, the greater 
the sagacity manifested. The brain, they say, is the organ of the 
mind, and the size and finish of this organ is in proportion to the 
structural advancement of the creatures, and determines the meas- 
ure of intelligence with which they are severally endowed. And 


yet the ant and the "busy bee," two urimals cown near ihe vrj/ 
bottom of the scale of organisation, and that can hardly be said lo 
possess a particle of brain at all, manifest more intelligence in their 
operations than any other class of the lower creatures that we are 
acquainted with ; and the beaver, whose brain is not more compli- 
cated than the sheep (which is regarded as the very type of stupidity) 
shows such a marvellous degree of constructive skill, that it is re- 
garded as one of the wonders of natural history. These facts show- 
how little dependence is to be placed on the theory of evolution, 
which so utterly breaks down at so many important points. 

" Still more fatal to such a theory is the fact, that the capacities 
with which man is endowed are not only different in degree, but 
different in their nature and working from those of the inferior 
creatures. The lower animals carry on their operations under the 
controlling power of a fixed and inevitable law. Their instincts 
work perfectly from the first, and uniformly to the last. They are 
but little, if anything, indebted to experience for the skill they dis- 
play. It is born with them, and they begin to show it from the 
moment they begin to move. Neither are they indebted to expe- 
rience for any alteration or improvement in the exercise of their 
functions. They follow the same mechanical processes of action 
and construction, without the slightest deviation from the particular 
pattern or type, according to which they carry on their work. This 
certainly is not the intelligence of man. But even the instinct ot 
the lower animal is perfect of its kind, and works under the direc- 
tion and control of a higher Power than itself — a Power that fits it 
for its own particular ends, that foresees its particular wants, and 
that causes it to fulfil the one and provide for the other, in a way 
that can never be accounted for by the laws of organisation, or the 
general principles of Materialism. 

If, then, neither the instinct of the brute, nor the intelligence of 
the man, proceed from any combination of material substances, the 
falsity of evolution and the truth of scripture is established beyond 


cavil. Man, as to his ph)-sical form, was the crowning act of tlic 
material universe, while in respect to the spirit that was in him, he 
was made in the likeness of God. Intellectual and moral qualities 
were conferred upon him, which raised him entirely out of the rank 
of the inferior creatures, connecting him immediately with the spir- 
itual world, and giving him a name and a place but ' a little lower 
than the angels.' He was far more in reality than the Poet imagines, 
when he declares him to be — ' half dust, half divinity.' His dust 
was not common dust, but dust so fearfully compounded, and so 
wonderfully organised, that it represented all the constituent ele- 
ments of the world which he inhabited, and all the constructive 
principles that were spread over the innumerable kingdoms of liv- 
ing nature ; so that, while he had a part with God, the meanest 
worm that crawls upon the ground had a part in him." 

The materialism of the present day is very different from what 
went under the same name in the days of such philosophers as 
DesCartes. They never went about to build up a world out of 
mere passive bulk and sluggish matter, without the guidance of a 
higher principle. They concluded it the greatest impudence or 
madness, to assert that living animals were the sole product of 
matter. Their system recognized an incorporeal substance, of 
which God was the head. That thought was the result of matter 
they regarded as the prodigious paradox of Atheists. They 
acknowledged the necessity of Divine organization and preserva- 
tion — the existence and agency of a spiritual principle distinct 
from matter and motion. Newton denied that matter possessed 
any inherent capacity of action. He ascribed the formation to the 
act of God, and everywhere in his writings recognized the neces- 
sity of a Divine Being, as the original cause and continued sup- 
porter of all things as they are. Nothing was independent of the 
will and action of God. His philosophical creed, in substance as 
follows, strongly contrasts with the materialism of our day : " This 
admirably beautiful structure of sun, planets, and comets, could not 


have originated except in the wisdom and sovereignty of an intel- 
ligent and powerful Being. He rules all things, not as the soul of 
the world, but as the Lord of all. He is eternal and infinite, omni- 
potent and omniscient ; that is. His duration is from eternity to 
eternity, and His presence from infinity to infinity. He governs 
all things, and has knowledge of all things that are done or can be 
done. He is not eternity and infinity, but eternal and infinite. He 
is not duration and space, but He is ever, and is present everywhere. 
We know Him only by means of his properties and attributes, and 
by means of the supremely wise and infinite constructions of the 
world, and their final causes : we admire Him for His perfection ; 
we venerate and worship Him for His sovereignty. For we worship 
Him as His servants ; and a God without sovereignty, providence, 
and final causes is nothing else than fate and nature. From a blind 
metaphysical necessity which, of course, is the same always and 
everywhere, no variety could originate. The whole diversity of 
created things in regard to places and times could have its origin 
only in the ideas and the will of a necessarily existing Being." 

Sir David Brewster, also, in later days, while admitting that 
gravitation might put the planets in motion, maintained that without 
the Divine power it could never give them such a circulating motion 
as they have about the sun, and hence he was compelled to ascribe 
the frame of the solar system to an intelligent agent. Young, the 
Christian poet, expresses this same idea when he says : 

" But miracles apart, who sees Him not — 

Nature's controller, author, guide and end ! 

Who turns his eye on nature's midnight face. 

But must inquire what hand behind the scene, 

What arm Almighty put these wheeling globes 

In motion, and wound up the vast machine ? 

Who rounded in his hand these spacious orbs — 

Who bowled them flaming through the dark profound, 

Numerous as glittering gems of morning dew. 

Or sparks from populous cities in a blaze : 

And set the bosom of old night on fire, 

Peopled her desert, and made horror smile ?" 


In view of tin's brief discussion, \vc arc now in a position to 
answer the question : By what power was the human race begun 
on earth ? There are but two explanations— either the first verse 
of the Bible, which says : " In the beginning- God created the 
heaven and the earth," is true, or it is false. The soul is either the 
result of the innate labor of the natural forces of matter, or it is 
the work of a supernatural power. There is no middle ground 
between spontaneous generation and creation. The material sub- 
stances of the body may be necessary to life, but they do not con- 
stitute or produce life. Existence and thought cannot be a product 
of matter. The soul protests against such an origin, and the denial 
of immortality which it includes : 

" To lie in cold abstraction, and to rot, 
This sensible warm motion to become 
A kneaded clod," 

is hostile to man's better instincts. He can never believe that his 

spirit has been developed by the brain, and that with the brain 

must be dissolved. Life can only come from life. 

In thus opposing Materialism and evolution as unscriptural and 
unreasonable, we make no charge against the morality and integ- 
rity of many leading scientists, who in studying the mysteries of 
nature, are led to conclusions, which in the opinion of all christian 
men and women, undermine the foundations of faith in a Divine 
Being. Somewhat restive under such charges, Professor Tyndall 
says : — 

" It may comfort some to know that there are amongst us many 
whom the gladiators of the pulpit would call Atheists and Material- 
ists, whose lives, nevertheless, as tested by an accessible standard of 
morality, would contrast more than favorably with the lives of those 
who seek to stamp them with this offensive brand. When I say 
' offensive ' I refer simply to the intention of those who use such 
terms, and not because Atheism or Materialism, when compared 
with many of the notions ventilated in the columns of religious 


newspapers, have any particular offensiveness to me. If I wished to 
find men who are scrupulous in their adherence to engagements, 
whose words are their bond, and to whom moral shiftiness of any 
kind is subjectively unknown ; if I wanted a loving father, a faith- 
ful husband, an honorable neighbor, and a just citizen, I would seek 
him among the band of Atheists to which I refer. I have known 
some of the most pronounced amongst them, not only in life, but 
in death — seen them approach with open eyes the inexorable goal, 
with no dread of a 'hangman's whip,' with no hope of a heavenly 
crown, and still as mindful of their duties, and as faithful in the 
discharge of them, as if their eternal future depended on their latest 

This may be all true, still the fact remains that without belief in 
a Divine Being, men have little incentive to holy living. Accord- 
ing to a man's creed is his practice. Materialism furnishes no 
grounds for noble endeavor after a blameless life, for it takes away 
all hope of immortality beyond. Its aim is to exterminate God 
from the universe. An old legend represents a king shooting an 
arrow heavenward, and mistaking the blood that came from a bird 
accidentally wounded, for that of the Deity. Such is the aim of 
those who substitute Materialism for creative power . 

"Once, in long perished ages, a vain king 

Shot toward heaven an arrow plumed and broad ; 
It fell to earth blood-tinged in shaft and wing. 

'' Behold " (quoth he), " my power has slaughtered God !" 
What atheist-archers heavenward launch, to-day, 

Their arrowy malice, while, with mocking nods 
And scornful smiles, these bold blasphemers say, 

" Vour God is slain ! Behold, we now are gods 1" 





OR such of our readers as may wish to prosecute this 
subject further, we append a few extracts from well 
known Scientists and Theologians, in confirmation of 
the opinions advanced in the previous pages : 

" There is not an existing stratum in the body 
of the earth, which geology has laid bare, which cannot be 
traced back to a time when it was not ; and there is not an exist- 
ing species of plants or animals which cannot be referred to a time 
when it had no place in the world. Their beginnings are discov- 
erable, in succeeding cycles of time. It can be demonstrated that 
man also had a beginning, and all the species contemporary with 
him, and that therefore, the present state of the organised world 
has not been sustained from eternity." — PROFESSOR Lyell, (the 
well-known Geologist.) 

" If a material element, or a combination ot a thousand material 
elements in an atom of matter, are alike unconscious, it is impossible 
for us to believe that the mere addition of one, two, or a thousand 
other material elements to form a more complex atom, could in any 
way tend to produce a self-conscious existence. To say that mind 
is a product or function of matter, or of its changes, is to use words 


to which wc can attach no clear conception. You cannot have in 
the whole, what does not exist in any of the parts. EITHER ALL 
TINCT FROM MATTER : and in the latter case, its presence in mate- 
rial forms is a proof of the existence of conscious beings, outside of 
and independent of what we term matter." — ALFRED RusSELL 
Wallace, (friend and associate of Darwin.) 

" The body is but the machine we employ, which furnished with 
power and all the appliances for its use, enables us to execute the 
intentions of our intelligence, to gratify our moral natures, and to 
commune with our fellow beings. This view of the nature of the 
body is the farthest removed from materialism : it requires a sep- 
arate thinking principle. A locomotive may be equipped with 
steam, water and fuel ; in short, with the potential energy necessar\- 
to the exhibition of immense mechanical power, but the whole 
remains in a state of dynamic equilibrium, without motion or signs 
of life or intelligence. Let the engineer now open a valve, which is 
so poised as to move with the slightest touch, and almost without a 
volition to let on the power to the piston, — the machine then awakes 
as it were into life. It rushes forward with tremendous power : it 
stops instantly, and returns again at the command of the master of 
the train ; in short, it exhibits signs of life and intelligence. Its 
power is now controlled by mind ; it has, as it were, a soul within 
it. The intellect which controls the engine is not in it, nor is it 
affected by its changes. And in the body, as well as in the engine, 
PHYSICAL FORCE, which both SO wonderfully exhibit." — PROFESSOR 
Joseph Henry Smith, (Smithsonian Institute, Washington.) 

"The advocates of Materialism say that the world made itself, and 
that mind is but a development of matter. According to this theory 
matter is eternal, and the statement contained in the first verse of 
the Bible — ' in the beginning God made the heavens and the earth ' 
— is false. 'The world never had a beginning nor a creator.' In 


support of this theory the sayings of scientific men are quoted, who 
affirm ' that matter is naturally indestructible by any human power. 
You may boil water into steam, but it is all there in the steam ; or 
burn coal into gas, ashes and tar, but it is all in the gas, ashes and 
tar : you may change the outward form as much as you please, but 
you cannot destroy the substance of anything.' Therefore it is 
argued, as matter is indestructible, it must also be eternal. 

" In reply to such assumptions, we deny that there is any gen- 
eral agreement among scientists and philosophers as to the indes- 
tructibility of matter, for the very good reason, that few of them 
pretend to say what matter in its own nature is. All that they 
assert is, ' that matter is indestructible by any operation to which 
it can be subjected in the ordinary course of circumstances, observed 
at the surface of the globe.' That is, ' human power cannot destroy 
matter :' and if so, it is just as reasonable to say, ' HUMAN POWER 
DID NOT CREATE IT.' But to say that matter is eternal, because 
man cannot destroy it, is as foolish as if a child should try to beat 
the cylinder of a steam engine to pieces, and failing in the attempt 
should say, ' I am sure this cylinder existed from all eternity, 
because I am unable to destroy it.' But even if matter were eternal, 
it does not account for the formation of the world, and the creation 
of man. What we call matter, is not one, but a vast number of 
material substances in combination. How did they come together 
in their different shapes, in clouds, atmosphere, rocks and rivers ? 
In what way did the fifty-seven primary elements of matter resolve 
themselves into the present glorious and beautiful world, with its 
variety of flowers and trees, and birds and beasts and fishes ? If, 
as is generally believed, every home must have a builder, and every 
machine a maker, can we accept the teachings of materialism, that 
this universe, which is the greatest of all compounds, is eternal, and 
the result of chance combinations of matter ? 

"In order to meet this objection, the materialist refers (a) to the 
law of gravitation, which extends- through space, and which has, he 


alleges, operated eternally ; b}' which the sej^arate parts of our earth 
have been drawn together, and under whose influence the orbs of 
heaven steadily and harmoniously revolve. But the law of gravi- 
tation presupposes intelligence in its beginning and continuance, 
for without some power of resistance to the law of gravitation, all 
things in the universe would be drawn steadily towards the centre 
of gravity. The centripetal and centrifugal forces, that keep the 
motions of the planetary world adjusted, are evidence of design, and 
of a power that is not in matter, (b) Nor does the theory of the fire 
mist, which the materialist says has existed from all eternity, and 
from which, under certain conditions, this earth and all living crea- 
tures has sprung, remove the difficulty. Millions of years ago, says 
the materialist, the world existed ' as a vast cloud of fire,' which after 
a long time cooled down into granite, and the granite by dint of 
earthquakes, got broken up on the surface, and washed with rain 
into clay and soil, whence plants sprang up of their own accord, and 
the plants gradually grew into various animals, and some of the 
animals grew into monkeys, and finally the monkeys into men.* 
This is what is now known as EVOLUTION, OR THE DEVELOPMENT 
Theory, — in itself, not necessarily Atheistic, but in its tendency 
and logical results decidedly so. Whether it is easier to believe 
that matter is eternal, or that nothing evolved something outside 
of itself, by some unknown law of nature, and that man with all 
his powers of reason, is but matter, destitute of immortality, or that 
the words of inspiration — ' and God said. Let us make man in our 
image, after our likeness,' — are true, may confidently be left to the 
judgment of every candid mind. If man is simpl}' a material organ- 
ism, then the doctrine of a future existence is false, and conscious- 
ness terminates at death." — Rev. R. PATTERSON, D, D., (author o^ 
"Fables of Infidelity.") 

"Materialism teaches — i. That from matter can be deduced all 
the powers and forces of nature, such as magnetism, light, gravit)-, 
or that matter eventuates in these forces. 


" 2. That the principle of life is also a modification of matter. 

" 3. That the soul, with all its faculties, is a product of matter, 
as also all that the soul produces. 

" 4. That all knowledge, all truth, all ideas, are simple inductions 
from material facts and phenomena, and all knowledge a modifi- 
cation of sensation. 

" 5. That the material world has the ground and end of its 
existence in itself — that there is no power above it, producing it, 
and no end for which it was made — and that irrational power is 
sufficient to produce all there is in the world. 

" 6. That the moral law is nothing more than a modification of 
the sequence of phenomena, and not a binding law given from 

" 7. That God is merely a name for matter, and that there is 
really no God. 

" Materialism cannot establish these propositions. It 
cannot explain the phenomena of life, neither the animal organism, 
nor the life which results from it. It cannot explain an organic 
body — not even the humblest plant. One life runs through all its 
parts. There is something more in it than atoms and general forces 
of nature. It cannot prove the soul to be a modification of matter. 
If the soul is material, it is the brain acting. But the brain is an 
aggregate of organs, to which strict unity does not belong. But 
strict unity does belong to the soul, as is seen in the consciousness 
of personal identity. Hence the soul cannot be derived from the 
brain. Thought and feeling cannot be explained as secretions of 
the brain, or as products of it, in any way. Still less can will or 
choice be derived from brain ; for in choice we are conscious of 
powers above the material world. If there be any final or efficient 
causes, materialism cannot be true. A final cause supposes a wise 
author of the world. An efficient cause supposes a power above 
that which it produces. Organisation shows final cause, and the 
efficient cause is necessary to satisfy the reason. If there be any 

46 futurl; punisiimlnt. 

absolute riglit, materialism cannot be true. Any law of duty is 
quite inconsistent with materialism. Materialism must den}' any 
ultimate cause or end of the universe, out of itself If the universe 
indicates a source lying behind it, and a goal before it, materialism 
is a failure." — REV. Henry B. Smith, D. D., (Union Seminary, 
New York.) 

" As materialism, in its modern form, in all that is essential to 
the theory, is the same that it was a thousand years ago the old 
arguments against it are as available now as they ever were. Its 
fundamental affirmation is, that all the phenomena of the universe, 
physical, vital, mental, are to be referred to unintelligent physical 
forces ; and its fundamental negation is, that there is no such thing 
as mind or spirit, apart from matter. There are two methods of 
combatting- any such theory. The one is the scientific, which calls 
in question the accuracy of the completeness of the data on which 
it is founded, or the validity of the inferences adduced from them. 
The other is the shorter and easier method, of the reductio ad 
absurdum. The latter is just as legitimate and valid as the former. 
The facts on which Materialists insist may, for the most part at 
least, be acknowledged ; while the sweeping inferences which they 
draw from them, in the eye of reason may not be worth a straw. 
All such inferences must be rejected whenever they conflict with 
any well established truth, whether of intuition, experience, or of 
divine revelation : 

" I. Materialism contradicts the Facts of Consciousness. The 
knowledge of self must be assumed. Unless we ARE we cannot 
know. This knowledge of self is a knowledge that we are some- 
thing : a real existence, not merely a state or mode of something 
else. It is not only knowledge that we are a substance, but that 
we are individual substances, which think, feel, and will. This im- 
plies mind — an individual, intelligent, and voluntary agent. The 
body is not the man. It is intimately and even vitally united to 
the real self: it is simply the organ which the soul uses, in com- 


munion with the external world. The Materialist cannot think or 
speak or write, without assuming the existence of mind, as distinct 
from matter, any more than the Idealist can live and act, without 
assuming- the existence of the eternal world, 

" 2. Materialism denies the fact of free agency. Consciousness 
attests that men have the power of self-determination. Every man 
knows this to be true as regards himself and his fellow men. This 
conviction no obduracy of conscience, and no sophistry of argument, 
can permanently obliterate from the human mind. But materialism 
denies free agency, and refers all mental action to physical forces. 

" 3. Materialism contradicts the facts of our moral and reli- 
gious consciousness. No man can free himself from a sense of 
accountability. These moral convictions necessitate belief in a God, 
to whom we must give account. But Materialism, in banishing all 
mind in man, leaves nothing to be accountable ; and in banishing 
all minrl from the universe, leaves no being to whom an account can 
be rendered. To substitute for an intelligent, extra-mundane, per- 
sonal God, mere matter (or ' inscrutable force,') is a mockery and 
an insult. It cannot be true, unless our whole nature be a lie. To 
call upon men to worship gravitation, and sing hallelujahs to the 
whirlwind, is to call upon them to derationalize themselves. The 
attempt is as idle, as it is foolish and wicked. 

" The fact is, that if \/e have no trustworthy evidence of the exist- 
ence of mind, we have no valid evidence of the existence of matter ; 
and there is no universe, no God. All is nothing. Happily men 
cannot emancipate themselves from the laws of their nature. They 
cannot help believing the testimony of consciousness as to their 
personal identity, and as to the existence of the soul, as the source 
of their thoughts, feelings and volitions. As no man can refuse to 
believe that he has a body, so no man can refuse to believe that he 
has a soul, and that the two are radically distinct." — REV. ClIARLES 
Hodge, D. D., (Princeton Seminary, N. J.) 


" I have never thought that any true theory of development or 
of growth was in the least degree inconsistent with divine purpose 
and design. But this must be development properly understood, 
and with all its facts clearly ascertained. Aty own strong impres- 
sion is, that there are many scientific men in the world who are a 
great deal more ' Darwinian.' than Darwin himself is. I have seen 
some letters published in scientific journals, in which it is quite 
obvious that the writer rejoiced in Darwin, simply becanse he 
thought that Darwin had dispensed with God, and had discovered 
some process entirely independent of design, which eliminated 
altogether the idea of a personal Creator from the universe. Now, 
it so happened that I had some means of knowing, that that was 
not the attitude of Mr. Darwin's own mind. In the last year of his 
life, Mr. Darwin did me the honor of calling upon me at my house 
in London, and I then had a long and very interesting conversation 
with that distinguished observer of nature. Mr. Darwin was above 
all things an observer. He did not profess to be a theologian, or a 
metaphysician. It was his work in the world to record facts, as far 
as he could see them, faithfully and honestly, and to connect them 
with theories and hypotheses, which were constructed at all events 
for a temporary convenience, (as all hypotheses in science must be,) 
before proof came. In the course of that conversation, I said to 
Mr. Darwin, in reference to some of his remarkable works on the 
fertilisation of orchids, upon earth worms, and various other obser- 
vations he had made of the wonderful contrivances for certain pur- 
poses in nature, that it was impossible to look at these, without 
seeing that they were the effect and the expression of mind. I can 
never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. Mr. Darwin looked at me very 
hard, and said : ' Well, it often comes over me with overpowering 
force, but at other times' — and he shook his head vaguely — ' it 
seems to go.'" — TiiE DuKE OF Argyle. 

" The so-called literary and scientific classes in England, now 
proudly give themselves up to Materialism., Origin of the Species, 


and the like, to prove that God did not build the universe. I have 
known three generations of the Darwins — grandfather, father and 
son — Atheists all. The brother of the present famous naturalist, a 
quiet man, told me that among his grandfather's effects he found a 
seal, engraven with this legend, " Omnia ex conchis" — everything 
FROM A CLAM SHELL ! I saw the naturalist not many months ago : 
told him I had read his * Origin of Species,' and other books : that 
he had by no means satisfied me that men were descended from 
monkeys, but had gone far towards persuading me that he and his 
so-called scientific brethren, had brought the present generation of 
Englishmen very near to monkeys. Ah ! it is a sad and terrible 
thing, to see nigh a whole generation of men and women, professing 
to be cultivated, looking around in a purblind fashion, and finding 
no God in the universe. The older I grow — and I now stand upon 
the brink of eternity — the more comes back to me the sentence in 
the catechism which I learned when a child, and the fuller and 
deeper its meaning becomes : ' What is the chief end of man ?' 
'To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.' No gospel teaching, 
that men have descended from frogs through monkeys, can ever 
set that aside." — Thomas Carlyle. 

" There is certainly evolution, that is, one thing coming out of 
another, in our world, especially in what we are here concerned with 
— the operations of physical nature. I know no scientific naturalist, 
under thirty years of age, in any country of the world, who does not 
believe that there is such a process. It is highly inexpedient in 
religious people to set themselves against it ; they will thereby 
only injure among young men the cause which they mean to benefit. 
Evolution is involved in the very nature of the causation acting in 
the whole physical world. Our physical world consists of an in- 
numerably large number of bodies created by God, and endowed 
by Him with specific properties. The bodies act upon each other 
according to their properties. All educated people do now acknow- 
ledge, that these mundane actions proceed according to the principle 


of cause and effect. If this be so, there must be cvohition. All tlie 
operations of nature are regulated by law. By the collocation of 
the causal agencies, orderly results are produced, or we may say 
developed, and these may also be called laws. The development 
is espcciall)' seen in the organic kingdoms. All plants and animals 
proceed from a seed or germ. Now in all this there is evolution, of 
which, therefore, every one has experience in his own person, and 
notices all around him in every department of nature, but especially 
in those living beings he is so closely connected with, 

" There is a general progression. According to the theory of 
Laplace, commonly adopted by scientific men, the earth was at one 
time in a state of vapor, v/hich as it rotated, became condensed into 
successive planets, and finally into a central sun. All this is con- 
sistent with scripture, which represents the world as without form 
and void, at first, and ^then of a specific form, and plenished with 
living beings. In all this there is nothing Atheistic, nothing irre- 
ligious in any way. It leaves every argument for the divine exist- 
ence and the divine benevolence where it was before, only adding 
new examples of order and design. As the law of gravitation binds 
the whole of contemporaneous nature in one grand sphere, so the 
law of development makes all successive nature flow in one grand 
stream, bearing the riches of all past ages into the future, possibly 
to the end of time. There is development in scripture. God crea- 
ted plants and animals at first, and gave them endowments by 
which they continue their kind throughout the ages. In the first 
chapter of Genesis such passages as these occur and re-occur : "And 
the earth brought forth grass, and herb )-ielding seed after his kind, 
and the tree yielding fruit whose seed was in itself after his kind, 
and God saw that it was good." In all this there is evolution. 
There is also development and growth in the whole dispensation of 
grace enfolded in scripture. Looking to these things, the defenders 
of religion should be cautious and discriminating in their attacks 
on evolution ; and when they assail it they should always explain 


what it is that they are opposing-. I regard the things evolved as 
not the less the work of God, because they have been evolved in an 
orderly and beneficent manner from other works of God. 

" But evolution, like every other operation of God, has been 
turned to evil purposes. It has been used to expel God from His 
works, and to degrade man to the rank of an upper brute. So I 
now turn to the question — " Is the Darwinian theory of evolution 
reconcilable with the Bible ?" While holding by evolution, which 
I see everywhere in nature, I do not therefore concur in all the 
theories that have been formed on the subject, or approve of the 
uses to which it has been turned by such men as Huxley, Spencer 
and Haeckel ; on the contrary, I regard it as of vast importance to 
rescue a natural, and therefore a divinely ordained process, from 
the abuse which has been made of it by carrying it too far, and by 
a wrong interpretation of it by men who have not been made infidels 
by evolution, but have illegitimately used evolution to support their 

"Darwin is an eminent naturalist. He maybe trusted in his 
statement of facts. But, while a careful observer, I do not regard 
him as a great philosopher ; and he was not trained in early life, 
or in any college course, to observe the facts of the mental and 
spiritual world, quite as certain and important as those of the phy- 
sical world. In arguing with him, the question turns around two 
points : 

" I. Can development evolve new species of plants and animals? 
This is by no means settled, as many naturalists, on the one hand, 
and many theologians, on the other, suppose. We have no direct 
proof of any new species of plant or animal being produced by 
development. There is no such process going on visibly at the 
present time, and we have no report of any one perceiving it in the 
past. The first monkey that became a man has left us no autobi- 
ography to tell us that he was once a monkey. 


"2. Is man developed from the lower animals? I believe in 
development, and that it can accomplish much, but it cannot do 
everything. It did not create matter at first ; evolution implies 
something to evolve from. It could not give to matter its power 
of evolution, that is, it has not created itself. Not only so, but it 
cannot evolve the higher powers, such as that of consciousness, 
intelligence, and moral discernment, from the lower, the material, 
or mere animal properties. There is no known power in dead 
matter to produce living matter. There is no potency in matter to 
produce consciousness, or the intelligence which devises means to 
secure an end. 

" We are entitled to ask, specially, whence that higher reason 
and moral perception which makes us like unto God. I believe we 
have to seek for this, not in material or animal nature, but in a 
being himself possessed of the attributes he imparts. It will be 
seen under what limitations I hold the doctrine of Evolution. I 
stand by it on the understanding that the whole process is the work 
of God — and that there are higher manifestations of God's power 
which cannot thus be accounted for." — Rev. James McCosh, D. D., 
(President, Princeton College, N. J.) 

" It is a remarkable fact, that the first verse of the Hebrew sacred 
writings speaks of the material universe as a whole, and as origin- 
ating in a power outside of itself The universe, then, in the con- 
ception of this ancient writer, is not eternal. It had a beginning, 
but that beginning in the indefinite, and by us unmeasured past. 
It did not originate fortuitously, or by any merely accidental con- 
flict of self-existent material atoms, but by an act — an act of will 
on the part of a Being, designated by that name which among all 
the Semitic peoples represented the ultimate, eternal, inscrutable 
source of power and object of awe and veneration. With the sim- 
plicity and child-like faith of an archaic age, the writer makes nc 
attempt to combat any objections or difficulties, with which this 
great fundamental truth may be assailed. He feels its axiomatic 


force, as the basis of all true religion and sound philosophy, and the 
ultimate fact which must ever bar our further progress, in the inves- 
tigation of the origin of things — the production from non-existence 
of the material universe, by the eternal self-existent God. 

" If any one should say, ' In the beginning was nothing ;' yes, 
says Genesis, there was, it is true, nothing of the present matter and 
arrangement of nature. Yet all was present potentially in the will 
of the Creator. 

"* In the beginning were atoms,' says another. Yes, says Gen- 
esis, but THEY WERE CREATED ; and SO says modern science, and 
must say, of ultimate particles determined by weight and measure, 
and incapable of modification in their essential properties. 

"' In the beginning were forces.' says yet another. True, says 
Genesis ; but all forces are one in origin — they represent merely 
the ultimate resort be an ' expression of Will.' 

'" In the beginning was Elohim,' adds our old Semitic authority, 
and in him are the absolute and eternal thought and will, the Creator 
from whom and by whom and in whom are all things. 

" Thus the simple familiar words, ' In the beginning God created 
the heaven and the earth,' answer all possible questions as to the 
origin of all things, and include all under the conception of theism. 

" The term ' evolution,' need not in itself be a bugbear on theo- 
logical grounds. The Bible writers would, I presume, have no 
objection to it if understood to mean the development of the plans 
of the Creator in nature. That kind of evolution to which they 
would object, and to which enlightened reason also objects, is the 
spontaneous evolution of nothing into atoms and force, and of these 
into all the wonderful and complicated plan of nature, without any 
guiding mind. Biological and palaeontological science, as well as 
the Bible, object to the derivation of living things from dead matter, 
by purely natural means, because this cannot be proved to be pos- 
sible, and to the production of the series of orgranic forms found as 


fossils in the rocks of the earth, by the process of struggle for exist- 
ence and survival of the fittest, because this does not suffice to 
account for the complex phenomena presented by this succession. 
* * * The origin and history of life cannot, any more than 
the origin and determination of matter and force, be explained on 
purely material grounds, but involve the consideration of power 
referable to the unseen world. ♦ * * When Evolutionists, 
in their zeal to get rid of creative intervention, trace all things to 
the interaction of insensate causes, they fall into the absurdity of 
believing in absolute unmitigated chance, as the cause of per- 
fect ordci."— Sir J. W. Dawson, (Principal, McGill Univcrsil)-, 

We cannot be'Lter close these notes than by the following lines, 
representing the progress of Creation from chaos up through the 
mried grades of animal life to man, the last but grandest work 
of Cod : 

" In darkness of the visionary night 
This I beheld : Stark space and therein God, 
God in dual nature doth abide — 
Love, and Loved One, Power and Beaut}^'s self 
And forth from God did come, with dreadful thrill, 
Creation, boundless, to the eye unformed. 
And white with trembling fire and light intense. 
And outward pulsings like the boreal flame ; 
One mighty cloud it seemed, nor star nor earth, 
Or like some nameless growth of the under seas : 
Creation dumb, unconscious, yet alive 
With swift, concentric, never ceasing urge 
Resolving gradual to one disk of fire. 

And as I looked, behold ine flying rim 
Grew separate from the centre, this again 
Divided, and the whole still swift revolved, 
Ring within ring and fiery wheel in wheel, 
Till, sudden or slow as chanced, the utmost edge 
Whirled into fragments, each a separate sun, 


With lesser globes attendant on its flight, 

These while I gazed turned dark with smoulderaig fire 

And, slow contracting, grew to solid orbs. 

Then knew I that this planetary world, 
Cradled in light and curtained with the dawn 
And starry eve, was born ; though in itself 
Complete and perfect all, yet but a part 
And atom of the living universe. 


Unconscious still the child of the conscious God,^ 
Creation, born of Beauty and Love, 
Beauty the womb and mother of all worlcls. 
But soon with silent speed the new-made earth 
Swept near me where I watched the birth of things. 
Its greatening bulk eclipsing, star by star, 
Half the bright heavens. Then I beheld crawl forth. 
Upon the earth's cool crust most wondrous forms 
Wherein were hid, in transmutation strange, 
Sparks of the ancient, never-ceasing fire ; 
Shapes moved not solely by exterior law 
But having will and motion of their own, — 
First sluggish and minute, then by degrees 
Horrible, monstrous and enorm, without 
Intelligence. Then other forms more fine 
Streamed ceaseless on my sight, until at last 
Rising and turning its slow gaze about 
Across the abysmal void the mighty child 
Of the supreme, divine Omnipotence — • 
Creation, born of God, by Him begot, 
Conscious in Man, no longer blind and dumb, 
Beheld and knew its Father and its God." 



WHERE arc the mij^hty ones of aj^cs past, 
Who o'er the world their inspiration cast, 
Whose memories stir our spirits Hke a blast?— 
Where are the dead ? 

Did they all die when did their bodies die. 
Like the brute dead passing forever by ? 
Then wherefore was their intellect so high — 
The mighty dead ? 

Why was it not confined to earthly sphere, 
To earthly wants? If it must perish here, 
Why did they languish for a bliss more dear — - 
The blessed dead ? 

All things in nature are proportionate 
Is man alone in an imperfect state, 
He who doth all things rule and regulate? — • 
Then where the dead ? 

If here they perished, where their beings germ, — 
Here were their thoughts', their hopes', their wishes' term — 
Why should a giant's strength propel a worm ? — 
The dead I the dead ! 

There are no dead ! The forms, indeed, did die, 
That cased the ethereal beings now on high ; 
'T is but the outward covering is thrown by : 
This is the dead ! 

The spirits of the lost, of whom we sing. 
Have perished not ; they have but taken wing, 
Changing an earthly for a heavenly spring : 
These are the dead ! 

Thus is all nature perfect. Harmony 
Pervades the whole, by His all-wise decree, 
With whom are those, to vast infinity, 
We misname dead. 

" But there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty 
j-iveth them understanding. Who knoweth the spirit of man that 
gocth upward, and the spirit of the beast that gocth downward to 
the earth." 


7^^ HE arguments in favor of the immortality of the soul 
are drawn from : (a) The almost universal belief of 
mankind, (b) The analogy of nature, (c) Reason, 
and (d) Revelation. 

It is a striking fact that the doctrine of a future 
^ state has almost universal belief among all nations. This 
may not be conclusive proof of the soul's immortality, but it cer- 
tainly is worthy of consideration. On this question there is entire 
unity of sentiment, while on almost every other of doctrine or 
morals, wide differences of opinion have, and do still exist. To 
whatever this universal belief in a future state is to be traced — 
whether we regard it as a mere traditionary legend, or a belief 
originally impressed upon the heart of man by the Almighty, or 
as a divine revelation handed down from generation to generation 
— it certainly forms a strong presumption in its favor. Greek and 
Roman Mythology, Chinese, African and Hindoo worship, recog- 
nize existence beyond the grave. All the ancient funeral rites, 
especially the Egyptian modes of sepulture, were based upon the 
belief of the soul's immortality. The writings of the more celebra- 
ted Greeks and Romans, are pervaded and possessed by the same 
idea, though certainly vague and indefinite, in comparison with the 
works of modern thinkers. Nor is it denied that many of the ancient 


nations entertained notions regarding the future, bordering ui)on 
absurdity ; but admitting this, at the foundation of every ancient 
system of reh'gion, there la)- the belief in the soul's conscious exist- 
ence after death. 

To be more explicit, the Sc) thians believed death to be a mere 
change of habitation. The Magi, who were scattered over Assyria 
and Persia, universally admitted the necessity of a future state of 
rewards and punishments. Socrates and Plato, and many other 
Greek philosophers, held the doctrine. Plato represents Socrates 
shortly before his death as saying : " When the dead are arrived at 
the rendezvous of departed souls, whither their angel conducts them, 
they are all judged. Those who have passed their lives in a man- 
ner neither entirely criminal nor absolutely innocent, are sent into 
a place where they suffer pains proportioned to their faults, till being 
purged and cleansed of their guilt and afterwards restored to lib- 
erty, they receive the reward by the good actions they have done 
in the body ;" and after annexing a specific punishment to each 
grade of crime, he adds : " Those who have passed through life with 
peculiar sanctity of manners, are received on high into a pure region, 
where they live with their bodies to all eternity in a series of joys 
and delights which cannot be described." Holding such sentiments, 
we are told the philosopher drank the poisonous draught with amaz- 
ing tranquility, and with the aspect of one about to exchange a ' 
short and wretched life, for a blessed and eternal existence. Homer 
again gives us a description of the descent of Ulysses into the shades 
of death, and Minos administering justice to the dead, as they stand 
around his dread tribunal to receive sentence according to their 
past vices or virtues. Ovid and Virgil taught the same doctrine. 
The Mahommedan creed gives special prominence to a future exist- 
ence after death. The followers of the false prophet, to this day, 
entertain the belief of a state of luxurious and sensual blessedness 
beyond human conception. The paradise of the Mussulman is a 
rude copy of an earthly garden of pleasure. The ultimate and glo- 

Tiie multitude of bright Spirite, ofieriag to satisfy the poet of auythiiig he desires to know. 

— Tke Visioa of Paradise, Canto v. 


rfous destiny of the believer and the blessed — the warrior who has 
shed his blood in the cause of God, and the prophet, and the der- 
vis, whose body has fallen under the discipline of abstinence and 
continual penance, is a condition of existence where all are eternally 
happy and undecaying, amid verdant groves, bright with unclouded 
sunshine, and moistened with streams containing a beverage more 
delicious than the juice of the choicest grape. Thus we find that 
the most civilized nations ot antiquity, alike with the savage hordes 
of heathen lands, held the doctrine of immortality. As Pope says : 

" Even the poor Indian, whose untutored mind. 
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind ; 
Whose soul proud science never taught to stray 
Far as the solar walk or milky way : 
Yet simpler nature to his hope has given 
Behind the cloud-topt hill an humbler heaven : 
Some safer world in depths of wood embraced. 
Some happier island in the watery was'ce. 
Where slaves once more their native land behold, 
No fiends torment, no christians thirst for gold, 
And thinks admitted to yon equal sky. 
His faithful dog shall bear him company." 

Leaving the argument for the immortality of the soul, based 
upon the almost universal belief of mankind, we find nothing in 
nature opposed to such a doctrine, but very much that assures us 
it is true. 

If we look to the state of man at his entrance upon life, and 
contrast the helplessness and dependence of infancy with the 
strength of manhood, we can deduce this general law, that the same 
creatures may exist at different periods, with varied degrees of per- 
ception and sensation, and capacities of action, enjoyment and suf- 
fering. This law holds good in many departments of animal life. 
The worm becomes the fly, and the insect bursts its shell. The 
butterfly, casting aside its chrysalis shape, rises on its silver-tinged 
wings into the summer sunbeam. Other illustrations might be 
given of a fact patent to every intelligent observer, favoring the 


supposition, that \vc shall exist after death in a state different from 
the present, but analogous to a law of nature now in operation, only- 
more fully do-velopcd and in keeping with the nobler destiny of 
rational and immortal beings. 

In our present condition of existence, we have capacities for 
action, enjoyment and suffering. The very possession of these 
before death, is a strong presumption that we shall retain them in, 
and after death. It is in accordance with all true logical argument, 
to hold by the continuance of any attribute or function of existence, 
whether in mind or matter, until we see adequate cause for its des- 
truction. We have an illustration of this in the case of sleep. Dur- 
ing the period of slumber, or when a person is in a swoon, all 
the faculties of the mind exist, although not in active exercise. No 
one doubts that all the mental powers are possessed as truly in 
sleep as when awake, and that they are only for the time being 
unexercised. The heat of fire is in the flint before it is struck by 
the flint, only latent. By the collision of the two elements, the fire 
is ejected, and turned to practical purposes. And thus in like 
manner, man retains during sleep all the faculties and powers of 
mind and imagination, although for the time latent ; when sleep is 
over and consciousness has returned, and he is brought back again 
into contact with the external world, reason and intellect reassert 
their sway. 

There is nothing, then, so far as we can discern, to suggest the 
idea that living beings will ever cease to live. We cannot of course 
trace the experience of the soul, through and after death. All that 
we can do is to reason from analogy. Death destroys the sensible 
proof, that after this great change we retain possession of the pow- 
ers of thought and action, but it furnishes no reason for supposing 
that we are then deprived of them, and that the grave puts an end 
to all the aspirations of life. So far from this gloomy and fore- 
boding thought, the fact that we retain these powers up to that, 
moment, is a strong presumption, that we shall retain them bc}-ond 


We may lose our limbs or certain of the organs of sense, and yet 
we remain the same beings. The amputation of a limb or an arm, 
is never regarded as proof of a corresponding diminution in the 
activity of the mind. Many gifted men have deformed bodies, 
while others who are deaf or dumb or blind, are marvels of intellec- 
tual acumen. According to the established order of things our 
bodies are constantly wearing away, so that in the course of a few 
years we lose the greater part of the material and physical, but in 
spite of this change, we remain the same living agent. The think- 
ing principle remains unaltered — the real man is unaffected by the 
decay of the outer. If this is so during the present existence, why 
not so after death, when the tabernacle of clay has been dissolved 
and has returned to dust? 

It follows, then, that the separation or destruction of the active 
bodily organs, does not in any way affect the moving agent. The 
different senses are but mediums, by which we conduct our obser- 
vations. Active power is not diminished by the loss of a limb. 
Although the external moving instrument is destroyed, the primary 
cause of action remains. The withdrawal of one or any of the 
bodily organs, does not prove the annihilation of what is vital in 
man's nature. It is true that the powers of sensation depend wholly 
upon the bodily organs, but not so the powers of mind and reflec- 
tion. These operate in a different way, and through entirely differ- 
ent channels. When the senses convey ideas of external nature to 
the mind, we are capable of reflecting and experiencing either 
pleasure or pain, without any assistance, so far as we know, from 
that body which is destroyed at death. Thence we argue, that if 
in our present state of being the soul can exercise its functions, 
uninfluenced by the body, — if it derives the greater part of its hap- 
piness and enjoyment from inward operations, altogether independ- 
ent of external influences, we have a right to believe that after death 
it will continue to act in a similar method. In opposition to what 
I have advanced, it is said by Materialists that death is the end of 


all existence, that the mortal shall never put on immortality, that 
so soon as the organs of the body are subjected to the laws of inani- 
mate matter, sensation, perception and apprehension aro at an end. 
If indeed it held universally true, that simultaneously with the 
approach of death the powers of the mind became weakened and 
disorganized, it might shake our confidence to some extent in the 
argument drawn from the analogy of nature. But experience tes- 
tifies that mortal diseases often leave the reflecting powers unim- 
paired, and that so far from becoming feeble and inoperative, they 
often reach their highest vigor the moment before dissolution. If 
it is asked, how are the ideas acquired by sensation to be supplied 
when the soul is separated from the body ? our only answer is, Me 
who originally framed and moulded into harmony the wonderful 
mechanism of soul and body, can after death supply other means 
of communication, to compensate for the absence of the bodily 
organs. And finally, if we are asked, why deny to the brute crea- 
tion the same immortality we claim for man ? our reply is, that the 
more we examine the instincts and dispositions of the lower ani- 
mals, the stronger is the conclusion that they were designed for this 
world, and this world alone, made in subjection to and for the use 
of man, who occupies a place but a little lower than the angels, and 
has been crowned with glory and honor. The insignificance of man, 
as compared with the immensity and grandeur of the universe, is 
no longer used as an argument against his immortality. On the 
contrary, the condescension manifested in God's mindfulness of man, 
throws around the character of the Deity a richer halo of glory, and 
bears testimony to the unselfishness and perfection of His love. 
" Man is one world and hath another to attend him." As the great 
dramatist says : " What a piece of work is man ! how noble in 
reason ! how infinite in faculties ! in form and moving, how express 
and admirable ! in action how like an angel ! in apprehension how 
like a God !" It is not here upon this little earth that he is to play 
his better part, but yonder. 


" All, all on earth is shadow — all beyond is substance. 

This is the bud of being, the vestibule . 

Strong death alone can heave the massy bar 

This gross impediment of clay remove, 

And make us, embryos of existence free, 

Embryos we must be, till we burst the shell, 

Yon ambient azure shell, and spring to life and reach it there, 

Where seraphs gather immortality." 

Nature's analogies never belie her maker. She teaches no such 
doctrine, as would represent the Almighty making man designedly 
to perish with the body, or as incapable of bestowing upon him im- 
mortality. Had she a voice, she would protest against such gross 
materialism, for as the poet well says : 

" Know'st thou the value of a soul immortal ? 
Behold the midnight glory, worlds on worlds ! 
Amazing pomp ! Redouble the amaze : 
Ten thousand add, and twice ten thousand more, 
Then weigh the whole, one soul outweighs them all." 

Having briefly considered the arguments from the almost uni- 
versal belief of all nations in the immortality of the soul, and from 
the analogies of nature, we are now prepared to appeal to reason — 
what says the soul itself? 

It will be admitted that there is within the breast of every one 

a strong and resistless yearning after future existence. The mind 

is ever seeking for new objects of interest, and more satisfying 

pleasures than the present affords. 

" The soul uneasy and confined from home, 
Rests and expatiates on a life to come." 

The intense thirst after knowledge also, which is common to the 

race, points to a time when we shall no longer see through a glass 

darkly, but face to face ; when we shall no longer know but in part, 

but shall know as we are known. For this keen desire after greater 

intellectual attainments does not weaken as life advances and the 

term of man's mortal pilgrimage draws nearer its close. On the 

contrary, it is almost invariably the case that the longer man lives 


the stronGjcr it becomes. We cannot suppose tliat the Creator should 
have implanted in man these unsatisfied longings, only to be extin- 
guished after a few j-ears probation here, and often when the mind 
is entering upon its greatest discoveries and conquests. Even ill 
the short space allotted man on earth, how grand are his achieve- 
ments ! Heights of fancy and imagination have been reached, and 
discoveries in science proved, that indicate the wonderful possibil- 
ities of the human mind. The immensity of the stellar world, and 
the motions of mighty orbs and planets that revolve in space, and 
the myriads of microscopic beings that live then- liitle hour in a 
single drop of water, have all been proved to a demonstration, so 
that of man it may almost be said, and that in no mere figurative 
sense, " He weighs the hills in scales, and the mountains in a bal- 
ance." He explores the dark caves of earth, ransacks the sepulchre 
of ocean, and classifies the innumerable productions of the deep. 
He analyses the elementary principles of the invisible atmosphere, 
discourses on the nature of the thunder peal, arrests the lightning 
flash, and chains it to his chariot wheel. No wonder that a heathen 
philosopher said : " When I consider the wonderful activity of the 
mind : so great a memory of the past, and such a capacity of pene- 
trating what is future : when I behold such a number of arts and 
sciences and such a multitude of discoveries, I am firmly persuaded 
that a nature which contains so many things within itself, cannot 

be mortal." 

" Say, can a soul possessed 
Of such extensive, deep tremendous powers, 
Enlarging still, be but a finer breath 
Of spirits dancing through their tubes a while, 
And then forever lost in vacant air ?" 

Such a melancholy conclusion, no unprejudiced mind can for a 
moment entertain, but on the contrary feel that there are the strong- 
est grounds for the conviction that man's rational powers, instead 
of being quenched at death, shall attain greater strength, and enjoy 
full fruition in another world. We mav recognize the beatings of 


the soul against the bars of its clayey tenement, and gather from 
the mortal impediments that confound and baffle it, assurance, that 
it is winged to soar in an ampler and diviner atmosphere, than in- 
vests this earthly pilgrimage. 

As connected with this part of our argument, and forming a 
a special proof for the immortality of the soul, we may mention 
that general law of adaptation, which has been so ably discussed 
by Dr. Chalmers in his celebrated Bridgewater treatise, from which 
we quote : — " There is one special proof for the immortality of the 
soul founded on adaptation. The argument is this : For every 
desire or faculty, whether in man or the inferior animals, there 
seems to be a counterpart in external nature. Let it be either an 
appetite or a power, and let it reside either in the intellectual or in 
the moral economy, still there exists a something that is altogether 
suited to it, and which seems to be expressly provided for its grati- 
fication. There is light for the eye ; air for the lungs ; food for the 
ever-recurring appetite ; society for the lone ; whether of fame or 
fellowship ; there is a boundless field in all the objects of all the 
sciences, for the exercise of curiosity ; in a word, there seems not 
one of the affections of the living creature, which is not met by a 
counterpart and a congenial object in the surrounding creation. 
But there are also prospective contrivances in which are unfolded 
to us other adaptations. They consist of embryo arrangements or 
parts not for immediate use, but for use eventually ; preparations 
going on in the animal economy, whereof the full benefit is not to 
be realized till some future, and often considerably distant, devel- 
opment shall have taken place — such as the teeth buried in their 
sockets that would be inconvenient during the first months of 
infancy, and other instances where this law is seen to operate in 
the material world. We may perceive in this, he goes on to say, 
the glimpse of an argument for the soul's immortality. What infer- 
ence shall we draw from this remarkable law in nature? That 
there is nothing waste, and nothing meaningless in the feelings and 


faculties, wherewith living creatures are endowed. For each desire 
there is a counterpart object — for each faculty there is room and 
opportunity of exercise, either in the present or in the coming futu- 
rity. But for the doctrine of immortality, man would be an excep- 
tion to this law. He would stand forth as an anomaly in nature ; 
with aspirations in his heart for which the universe had no antitype 
to offer ; with capacities of understanding and thought, that never 
were to be followed by objects of corresponding greatness, through 
the whole history of his being. This were a violence to the har- 
mony of things whereof no other example can be given. It were 
a reflection on one of the conceived, if not one of the ascertained, 
attributes of the Godhead. And unless there be new circumstances 
awaiting man in a more advanced state of being, he, the noblest of 
nature's products here below, would turn out to be the greatest of 
her failures." 

The last consideration which reason suggests for a future state, 
is founded upon the present condition of the world, and the unequal 
distributions of rewards and punishments. In accordance with the 
moral government of the Divine Being, we believe there must be a 
future existence. 

The miseries of the present life are tasted by all, and did each 
man suffer in proportion to his sins and shortcomings, there might 
be less reason for assuming the fact of another existence. But very 
different is the case. Often the good suffer, not directly for per- 
sonal wrong-doing, but from the injustice and violence of others. 
Looking upon the face of society we see oftentimes oppression tri- 
umphant, might sovereign over right, the innocent punished, while 
the guilty escape. Such inequality of fortune, furnishes no mean 
argument for the immortality of the soul. Who can conceive that 
a God of spotless equity and impartiality, will leave unsettled such 
seeming inconsistencies, or doubt but that a time is coming, when 
not only the grievances and injuries committed between man and 
man shall be adjusted, but when there shall be a final balancing of 


accounts between man and his Maker ? The history of humanity 
is stained by wholesale atrocities and cold-blooded murders. The 
dark places of the earth are still the habitations of horrid cruelty. 
What of the terrible slaughter of the Waldenses, among the Alpine 
mountains, the suffering of the Protestants of France in the reign 
of the despotic Louis XIV., the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, 
the fires of Smithfield and the Grassmarket, and the long and 
bloody persecution of the Covenanters? In many instances, the 
abettors of such atrocities have escaped human retribution. Surely 
there must be a day, when the cry of the saints under the altar 
shall be heard, and justice meted out to the enemies of the Most 
High. If, as has been said, the present is the only state of punish- 
ment and rewards ; if when the body ceases to move, and the 
tongue to speak, there is a complete end of all appertaining to 
humanity, on what grounds can we vindicate or maintain the recti- 
tude of the Almighty in these dispensations of his providence ? 

And, now, leaving the considerations in favor of the immor- 
tality of the soul, drawn from the almost universal belief of nations, 
the analogies of nature and the testimony of reason, all that remains 
for us is to glance, in a few sentences, at the witness of the spirit 
in the volume of inspiration. Every man who has read the Bible 
to any extent, be he Materialist, Skeptic or Christian, must acknow- 
ledge that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is taught 
more or less explicitly in every part of the Book. Without it, in- 
deed, revelation is an unmeaning mockery and a mass of contradic- 
tions. For the present we assume, that God's word is the founda- 
tion of all our knowledge regarding the fu':ure, and the source of 
all the hope that irradiates the gloomy passage of the grave. 

It is a common saying, but a true one, that nature and revela- 
tion are harmonious. It is so as regards the question under dis- 
cussion. What reason infers and nature symbolises, the Christian 
revelation clearly declares. Life and immortality have been brought 
to light by the Gospel. The doctrine of the immortality of the 


soul is taught at the birth of the Jewish nation, as well as at the 
close of the New Testament scriptures. It was held long before 
the advent of Christ by many uncivilized tribes, and was the re- 
ceived opinion of most, if not all, among the Oriental nations. 
Christ gave to the doctrine an authoritative sanction, and exemplified 
and embodied it in his own resurrection. We know that this is 
denied. Some good men, who believe in the evangelical doctrines 
of the gospel, cannot discover in the Old Testament Scriptures, an)- 
definite evidence that the Jews had any better faith than their 
neighbors. They admit that they had some hope of a life after 
death, some vague, shadowy presentiment, that the evanescent 
breath did not end all, and that in the occasional ecstatic moments 
which the keenest sorrow and the supremest joy sometimes bring 
to the spiritual soul, they uttered the words of anticipation, into 
which we may easily read a Christian assurance which they did not 
possess — that to David in the hour of his great sorrow, at the grave 
of his infant child, there came the half hope, half despair, " I shall 
go to him, but he shall not return to me," and that to Job in his 
bewilderment of grief there came a gleam like the flash of an aurora 
in a winter's cheerless night, " I know that my Redeemer liveth." 
But these, they argue, are only " the reactions and protests of souls 
well-nigh bewildered by their own grief, against its intolerable 
tyranny. There is no revelation of immortality ; no," thus saith 
the Lord, " no rock rolled away from the tomb, and disclosure of 
angels sitting there ; no clear, sweet-toned, triumphant song in the 
night — no eastern morn." The Old Testament, according to this 
view, " is one long, unbroken Good Friday, while hope and love, 
like the two Marys, sit over against the tomb, and wail and weep 
and frame their wishes into hopes, that die in the very utterance." 
We cannot come to such a conclusion. It was indeed impossible 
for the Jews — so intimately associated with the Egyptians — a 
people that recognized the doctrine of immortality — not to be be- 
lievers in the survival of the soul after the death of the body. Xor 


can we Imagine that God would conceal such an important funda- 
mental truth, from the knowledge of his own chosen people. On 
the contrary, we should expect that in types, and symbols, and 
and commiunications of His will, made to them from time to time, 
plain reference would be made to the life beyond the grave. Such 
is the case. The language of the Old Testament pre-supposcs the 
immortality of the soul. Patriarch after patriarch rejoiced in the 
hope. The tianslation of Enoch and Elijah, " and the gathering 
to his people," of one aged saint after another, indicates a universal 
belief in life after death. Abraham expected " a city which had 
foundations, whose builder and maker was God." Moses endured 
" as seeing Him who is invisible, for he had respect to the recom- 
pense of the reward." David said : " As for me, I shall behold 
Thy face in righteousness ; I shall be satis5ed when I awake with 
Thy likeness. Thou will show me the path of life ; in Thy presence 
is fullness of joy ; at Thy right hand arc pleasures for evermore." 
Isaiah says : " Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead 
body shall they arise." Solomon declares his belief in the doctrine, 
in the well known words of Ecclesiastes r " Rejoice, O, young man, 
in thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of 
thine eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring thee 
into judgment." Similar testimony might be given from the later, 
and minor prophets, demonstrating conclusively that the doctrine 
of the soul's immortality was not only taught by Old Testament 
writers, and sung of by every Bible bard from creation downwards, 
but also believed in and appropriated in all the changing circum- 
stances of their lives. 

When we come to the New Testament Scriptures, the doctrine, 
as might be expected, is still more clearly enunciated. It is there 
treated not as an abstract theory, but as a consequent of Christ's 
death and resurrection. The immortality of the soul and the con- 
ditions of souls in the future state, are spoken of together. Paul 
speaks of "the eternal weight of glory" laid up in Heaven — of 


" a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Peter in 
glowing language, describes the lively hope, begotten in believers 
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, " to an inheritance incorruptible 
and undefiled and that fadeth not away ;" and the beloved John, in 
giving the assured and glorious prospect of exchanging this poor 
mortal life for a changeless existence, but unable to describe it, says : 
"It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when 
He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as 
He is." 

For those of our readers, who desire to study out more fully the 
testimony of the Hebrew scriptures to the immortality of the soul, 
the able lecture of Professor J. M. Hirschfelder, of the University 
of Toronto, entitled, " A critical investigation of the doctrine of the 
immortality of the soul, as set forth in the Old Testament," is to be 
highly commended. His accurate knowledge of the Oriental lan- 
guages and literature, and the candor and impartiality manifested 
in all his writings, entitle his conclusions to the utmost respect. 
His argument in a condensed form is somewhat as follows : The 
doctrine of the immortality of the soul, must necessarily have its 
foundation in the creation of man. If Adam, our first parent, was 
created an immortal being, then the immortality of the soul can no 
longer be questioned. A glance at the language used by the sacred 
writer, in the narrative of the creation of man, shows at the very 
outset his superior dignity and preeminence above all the other 
creatures, and the great solemnity and importance which scripture 
attaches to this creative act. All the other creatures were called 
into existence by the simple fiat of God, but here, God is first repre- 
sented as taking counsel with himself — " Let us make man in our 
image, after our likeness." " So God created the man in his own 
image, in the image of God created He him." If it is asked, in 
what sense man bears the image and likeness of God, the answer 
is, not in so far as the bodily form is concerned. In the creation of 
man, two distinct acts are mentioned. " The Lord God formed the 


man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils, the 
spirit or breath of life, and he became a living creature." So far, 
then, as the body is concerned, it is merely dust, but " the breathing 
into his nostrils the spirit of life, by which man became a living 
creature," shows that man has a life, which has nothing in commo; 
with the dust, or as it has been said : " The body is nothing but a 
scabbard of a swoi'd, in which the soul is put up." The word 
"breath," employed by the inspired penman, really denotes "God's 
own spirit." It is only applied in the Hebrev/ to God and man, 
and indicates the close affinity of man with his creator. It is the 
possession of this spirit which so immeasurably exalts man above 
all other creatures, and makes him "but a little lower than the 
angels." The breath of God became the soul of man : the soul of 
man, therefore, is nothing but the breath of God. The rest of the 
vv'orld exists through the word of God : man through His peculiar 
breath, which is the seal and pledge of his relation to God. That 
Adam was created an immortal being, is also implied in the sen- 
tence that was to follow his disobedience. The words, " In the day 
thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die," have no meaning what- 
ever, if man was not destined to immortality. If he was born mortal 
and should remain mortal, the threat of death is useless. 

The translation of Enoch, who passed from earth to heaven 
without tasting death or seeing corruption, is another proof of the 
immortality of the soul. At the time of his translation, he was only 
three hundred and sixty-five years old, which in these days was not 
half of the ordinary life allotted to man. The " taking away " of 
Enoch, therefore, at so early an age, as a reward for his great piety, 
can only find its explanation in God as a loving father, having 
taken him to His eternal home, there to enjoy greater and never- 
ending bliss ; he and Elijah being exempted from the common lot 
of humanity. To explain the passage, "God took him," as merely 
meaning the removing from earth by the common process of dis- 
ease and death, as some writers have most a')3urdly done, would 


rather have been a punishment than a reward for his piety, and is 
altogether inconsistent with the representation, which pervades the 
Old Testament Scriptures, where length of days is spoken of as 
the reward of the present life. Dr. Kitto, the well-known Bible 
commentator, says : " As a reward of his extraordinary sanctity, 
he was translated into heaven, without the experience of death. 
Elijah was in like manner translated, and thus was the doctrine of 
immortality PALPABLY taught under the present dispensation." 
Delitzsch, the German Theologian, says : ." Enoch and Elijah were 
translated into eternal life with God, without disease, death and 
corruption, for the consolation of believers, and to awaken the hope 
of a life after death." Indeed the most eminent German and Eng- 
lish critics, regard the " taking away " of Enoch, as one of the strong- 
est proofs of the belief in a future state, prevailing among the 
Hebrews. Without this belief, the history of Enoch is a perfect 
mystery, "a liieroglyph without a clue, a commencement without 
an end." 

In the prediction made of Abraham's death, the immortality of 
the soul is also distinctly stated : " Thou shalt come to thy fathers 
in peace ; thou shalt be buried in a good old age." This can mean 
nothing else, than that he should meet his fathers in the blessed 
abode of departed spirits. If the existence of his fathers terminated 
with their returning to dust in the grave, the words are entirely 
meaningless. In the account also given of his death, it is said : 
" And Abraham expired, and died in a good old age, and full of 
years, and he was gathered to his people." His people evidently 
existed somewhere. Not certainly in the grave, but in the abode 
of departed spirits. The expression, " he was gathered to his peo- 
ple," cannot mean he was buried with his people, for Abraham's 
sons buried him in the cave of Macpelah, in the field of Ephron, in 
the land of Canaan, whilst all his fathers died, and were buried in 

Once more, and to close our quotations from the Old Testament 
Scriptures, the passage found in the Book of Job, chap. 19, v. 25-27, 


has commonly been regarded as a strong proof of the immortahty 
of the soul. Its literal translation is as follows : 

" For I know that my Redeemer is living, 

And at the last (or hereafter) he will stand upon the dust ; 

And though after my skin worms destroy this body. 

Yet from my flesh shall I see God, 

Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall beholdj 

And not a stranger, 
Although my veins be consumed within me." 

Professor Hirschfelder strongly advocates that view, as against 
those who regard it as nothing more than a prediction of Job, that 
he would be restored to health and prosperity. There is, however, 
still a third opinion advanced by scholars, that while the doctrine 
of the resurrection from the dead and the immortality of the soul, 
may be implied in the language, in its primary significance, it 
merely expresses the assurance of the Patriarch, that at some time 
in the future God would vindicate him from the charges of his 
friends, and assert his innocence. As the passage in question has 
been for ages the subject of prolonged study and speculation, and 
is emphatically the key by which we arrive at a right understanding 
of the argument of the entire book, it is deserving of more than a 
passing notice. 

The word rendered " redeemer," is susceptible of other meanings 
than that commonly attached to it. In the Old Testament, it is 
applied to any one who ransoms another from captivity, and fre- 
quently to the avenger of blood and vindicator of violated rights. 
Under the Mosaic law it was the duty of the nearest kinsman to 
take the part of his friend in life, and if need be avenge his death, 
by taking the life of the murderer. Such a law was common in 
Oriental countries, and doubtless was in force in the days of Job. 
It was well understood by the American Indians, and has prevailed 
more or less in all countries, before settled laws for the trial and 
punishment of the guilty were established. The term, " redeemer," 
therefore, does not of itself determine the exact meaning of the 


passage. It may refer to God, as the vindicator of Job's character 
from the false slanders and accusations of his friends ; or to God, 
as his vindicator at the resurrection ; or to Christ, as the future 
Messiah and Redeemer. Nor need the words, "he shall stand upon 
the dust," be referred exclusively to the resurrection. As argued 
by certain scholars, it may simply imply that at some future period 
— it might be at the last day, or at some subsequent stage in the 
present life, and long prior to the resurrection, — God would appear 
as his friend. Of one thing Job was well assured, that however 
great and long protracted his sufferings might be, the time was 
coming when Jehovah would stand upon the dust, and free him 
from all unjust aspersions. Now he seems as one unconcerned, but 
then he will come forth in vengeance. After his skin has been 
destroyed, and out of his flesh, he shall see God. The words. 
" worms " and " body," have no place in the original. The idea 
intended is exceedingly obscure. The work of decay and dissolu- 
tion was steadily going on in his body. It was covered with sores 
and ulcers, and soon his frame would be washed away. But even 
in this miserable condition, he believes God would appear. He 
shall see him, NOT IN the flesh, as in our translation, but OUT OF 
his flesh ; meaning either, when the body is so reduced and wasted 
that no flesh remains, or in a renewed and glorified body, after he 
awakes from the dust. He shall see him on his side, and hear hif 
decision in his favor. He will not be to him as a stranger or as ar 
enemy, but as a friend and advocate. And it is worthy of remarl> 
that Job's strong assurance of seeing God was realised. In the 
38th chapter, we are told God answered him out of the whirlwind 
and in the 42nd, under the manifestation of God's glory, the Patri- 
arch says : " I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear ; bui 
now mine eye seeth thee : wherefore I abhor myself, and repent ir 
dust and ashes." 

In favor of the view, that PRIM.\RILY the passage does not teacl- 
the doctrine of a resurrection, but that at some time in the future 


either before or after his death, God would vindicate and assert his 
innocence, the following considerations are advanced : (a) The 
language literally and fairly interpreted, does not necessarily teach 
the doctrine of a resurrection and a coming Messiah, (b) The doc- 
trine of a resurrection, if here, is nowhere else in the book DEFIN- 
ITELY announced, while at times the language seems to teach the 
very opposite. (See chap. 7, v. 21 : 10, v. 21, 22 : 16, v. 22). It is 
not affirmed that the Patriarch had no knowledge of a resurrection, 
but it is argued that if he held it so firmly as is commonly inferred 
from this passage, he would frequently have referred to it, and never 
would have used language that seemed to throw the least shadow 
of doubt upon it. (c) The doctrine is never referred to by either 
of his three friends, nor even by God himself, when in reply to Job 
and his accusers, he clears up the mystery of his afflictions, (d) 
The whole structure of the book, and the circumstances in which 
the Patriarch was placed, seem to favor another interpretation. 
Job's former and present condition is contrasted. His character is 
described in the highest possible terms : a man perfect and upright : 
one that feared God and eschewed evil. His worldly and family 
prosperity were marvellous. He was the greatest of all the men of 
the East. Then came sudden, severe, and repeated afflictions. His 
family, his wealth, his health, are taken away. In such a situation, 
his three friends come to console him. They are silent in presence 
of his misery for a time, but afterwards accuse him of great sin, for 
which he is being punished. They had no idea of anything beyond 
penal suffering, and measure the greatness of his wickedness by the 
extent of the calamity. In this they erred, and the grand design 
of the book is to show their error. Job was disciplined by trial, not 
for any special act of wrong doing, but to strengthen his faith. As 
soon as the suffering has accomplished its end, it is removed. And 
the lesson taught is, that men must confide in God, and expect to 
meet with many things that transcend their understanding. Job 
suffers long, under the unjust suspicions of his friends, and is almost 



tempted to challenge the clealing-.s of the Almighty. But at last he 
begins to reaUse the meaning of God's chastisements. The cloud 
parts, and light arises in his soul. The struggle is over, and he 
regains his confidence in the wisdom of the Almighty. He is 
assured that his vindicator — his friend — his kinsman, will eventually 
make known to his friends why he has been so afflicted, and make 
plain his integrity and innocence. " I know," he says, " that my 
Redeemer, orvindicator, liveth." He knew God before in general — 
now he knows him in the special. He is brought near to him as a 
personal friend. Formerly he had seen God's hand, in the afflic- 
tions of others ; now he sees it in his own, and realises the comfort 
that flows from the divine presence. The doctrine of a personal, 
vindicating, and avenging God, is no longer a matter of speculation. 
He is my kinsman, says Job. I may not live to remove the unjust 
suspicions of my friends, but He will do it. He is bound to do it, 
in virtue of the close bond that exists between us. 

Whatever may be the value attached to such an interpretation 
of the passage, those who hold that it goes much further can accept 
it as at least a reasonable theory, and a valuable contribution to the 
solution of a long debated question. It has certainly much more 
to commend it than the theory, which sees nothing more in Job's 
language than a confident hope of restoration to health and pros- 
perity. The language used by the Patriarch throughout, implies 
that the disease under which he is laboring was incurable, and that 
he had no expectation of relief, unless by miraculous interposition. 
" He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone — my hope 
has been torn up like a tree." There was no escape from his pres- 
ent trouble, but in the grave. 

If then the language implies entire dissolution, are we not com- 
pelled to fall back upon the commonly accepted interpretation, that 
the doctrine of a future state is implied, when the wrongs of life 
shall be righted ? — that the soul is immortal and never dies ? Many 
Old Testament predictions have a twofold application, a near and 


a more remote. The Prophets and Seers of old did not In every case 
fully understand the sweep and comprehensiveness of their visions 
and utterances. In this case, to Job, there was a partial fulfilment 
at least in the present life, but to every saint of God there is none 
the less a Kinsman Redeemer from sin and the grave. Very beauti- 
fully, in accordance with such a view of the passage, has it been 
paran'nrased by Thomas Scott : 

" I know, that He whose years can ne'er decay 
Will from the graVe redeem my sleeping clay, 
'When the last rolling sun shall leave the skies. 
He will survive, and o'er the dust arise: 
Then shall this mangled skin new form assume, 
This flesh then flourish in immortal bloom : 
My raptured eyes the judging God shall see, 
Estranged no more, but friendly then to mc. 
How does the lofty hope my soul inspire 1 
I burn, I faint with vehement desire." 

In favor of the commonly accepted interpretation, the following 
among other arguments are weighty : (a) The language is such as 
describes the resurrection and judgment that follows every immor- 
tal soul in a future life, even allowing that the old version does not 
give us a correct translation of the original, (b) As far back as 
the time of Job, belief in a coming Messiah was held by the inhabi- 
tants of Arabia. If so, what more natural than that this book 
should make allusion to the hope of Old Testament saints ? (c^ 
Afflicted as Job was, such a belief in a Redeemer and resurrection 
to eternal life, was admirably adapted to give the consolation 
needed, (d) The solemn manner in which the words of the text 
are introduced ; his desiring to have them engraven upon the rock, 
that future generations might know the grounds of his faith, seems 
to point to this, as the real meaning intended. 

It is worthy of remark, that many who do not adopt this line ol 
reasoning in support of the doctrine of the soul's immortality, never- 
theless accept it as true on other grounds. Greg, in his " Creed of 
Christendom," a work that assails the fundamental truths of the 


Christian religion, while believing in the soul's immortality, regards 
such arguments as we have advanced as deplorably weak and in- 
conclusive. In his opinion, nature throws no light on the subject ; 
the phenomena we observe could never have suggested the idea of 
a renewed existence beyond the grave ; appearances all testify to 
the reality and permanence of death ; after death, all that we have 
ever known of a man is gone ; all that we have ever seen is dis- 
solved into its component elements ; it does not leave us at liberty 
to imagine that it may have gone to exist elsewhere, but is actually 
used up as material for other purposes. The decay and dissolution 
we observe, are to all appearance those of the mind as well as the 
body. We see the mind, the affections, the soul sympathising in 
all the permanent changes of the body, diseased with its diseases, 
enfeebled by its weakness, wearied as the body ages, and gradually 
sinking into imbecility as the body dies away in helplessness. The 
argument drawn from the general belief of mankind, he regards as 
a fond, tender, self-deceptive weakness, the natural result of univer- 
sal love of life, and horror of destruction. That which is based on 
its immateriality, and which makes the soul of necessity immortal, 
seems to him mere assertion, or a matter of which we know abso- 
lutely nothing — the convulsive flounderings of intellects beyond 
their depth. To say that a future life is needed to redress the ine- 
qualities of the present, assumes that the Deity is bound to allot an 
equal portion of good to all his creatures, and that human lots are 
in reality unequal in point of happiness and earthly good. And 
finally, in replying to the argument that man possesses faculties 
which attain no adequate development on earth, and do not ripen 
till the approach of death, and therefore require a future scene for 
their perfection, he holds that the powers of the mind generally 
attain their height in middle life, and weaken and decay as age 
creeps over the frame. And yet while characterising such argu- 
ments, as only "proofs of man's determination to hold the doctrine, 
and not of the truth of the doctrine," he believes in it as firmly as 


the most orthodox member of any evangelical church. It is, he 
maintains, a matter of intuition, not of inference ; the soul itsell 
perpetually reveals it : the intellect may imagine it, but could never 
have discovered it, and can never prove it. Apart from the -spir- 
itual sense, there is no solution of the question. Belief in the 
immortality of the soul is anterior to reasoning, independent of 
reasoning, unprovable by reasoning ; and yet, as no logic can 
demonstrate its unsoundness, he holds it with a simplicity, a ten- 
acity, and an undoubting faith, which is never granted to the con- 
clusions of the understanding. Man is not dependent on the tardy, 
imperfect, fallible and halting processes of logic, for any convictions 
necessary either to happiness or action. These arc all instinctive, 
primary, intuitive. Reason examines them, combines them, con- 
firms them, questions them ; but there they remain, heedless alike 
of her hostility, " asking no leave to shine of our terrestrial star." 
Indeed, whatever be their creed, and however much men may dis- 
sent from the generally accepted truths of Christianity, in but few 
save where the grossest materialism has debased the mind, do we 
find unhesitating, unqualified denial of the soul's immortality. In 
spite of the transcendental Pantheism of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 
he seems to have held fast to a conscious future existence, notwith- 
standing the assertions of sceptics to the contrary. When he left 
the pulpit in 1832 for literature, he said in his farewell address to 
his people : " I commend you to the Divine Providence. May he 
multiply to your families and to your persons every genuine bless- 
ing ; and whatever discipline may be appointed to you in this 
world, may the blessed hope of the resurrection, which he has 
planted in the constitution of the human soul, and confirmed and 
manifested in Jesus Christ, be made good to you beyond the grave !" 
And in his last essay given to the world, which, strange to say, was 
on "Immortality," we find these sentences : " Everything is pros- 
pective, and man is to live hereafter. That the world is for his 
education, is the only sane solution of the enigma. The implant- 


iiig of a desire indicates that the gratification of that desire is in 
the constitution of the creature that feels it. The Creator keep^^ 
his word with us. All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator 
for all I have not seen." Lord Byron said : " I feel my immortality 
overswecp all pains, all tears, all fears, and peal like the eternal 
thunders of the deep into my ears the truth — " Thou livest lor ever." 
Such utterances from men, whose conclusions proceed from other 
premises than those generally held by orthodox christians, prove 
an almost universal and ineradicable belief in the immortality of 
the soul. They warrant us in using the beautiful and well-known 
lines of Martin Tupper : 

■■ Gird up thy mind to contemplation, trembling habitant of the 

earth : 
Tenant of a hovel for a day, thou art heir of the universe for ever ! 
For neither the congealing of the grave, nor gulfing waters of the 

Nor expansive airs of Heaven, nor dissipative fires of Gehenna, 
Nor rust of rest, nor wear, nor waste, nor loss, nor chance, nor 

Shall avail to quench or overwhelm the spark of soul within thee ! 

Thou art an imperishable leaf on the evergreen bay-tree of existence; 

A word from Wisdom's mouth, that cannot be unspoken ; 

A ray of Love's own light ; a drop in Mercy's sea ; 

A creation, marvellous and fearful, begotten by the fiat of Omni- 

I that speak in weakness, and re, that hear in charity, 

Shall not cease to live and feel, though flesh may see corruption ; 

For the prison gates of matter shall be broken, and the shackled 
soul go free." 

And now, in closing this part of the subject, I ask, can any can- 
did man, in view of what has been advanced, comfortably cherish 
the thought that there is no existence beyond death ? Is not such 
a prospect gloomy — unspeakably dark and dreary ? What is there 
in Materialism to sustain under trial — to nerve to effort — to brighten 
the shadows of old age ? The dead Florentines, we are told, are 
carried to thcL last resting place at night, for no one must be 


shocked during the day, while in the midst of sunshine and light 
and gayety, by the thought that some day there will be no sunshine 
or gayety for him in the bright world. Fitting obsequies for the 
man who denies the existence of a better life to come, but not for 
him whose instincts point to immortality, as surely as the instinct 
of the bird points to the southern clime ! Strange indeed, but true, 
that in this cultured 19th century, there are to be found men who 
disbelieve everything except their own infallibility ; who are never 
happy, save when they are ploughing up the very foundations of 
revelation. Leaders in the world of thought and knowledge, their 
very souls arc materialised. They believe in the mechanics and 
chemistry, which they see going on in the forces and visible agen- 
cies of the universe ; they believe in reptiles and inert matter, but 
believe neither in God nor the soul's immortality. With them the 
question is not how to save the soul, but is there a soul : not how 
to prepare for a final judgment, but whether there is any future 
existence at all : not how to be at peace with God, but whether 
there be a God ! The question of the soul's immortality has been 
settled long ago by Him who cannot lie, when He says : " What 
is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own 
soul ? or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?" This 
implies that there is a soul, different from the body in essence and 
duration ; that it shall live on forever ; that it may be lost, and that 
its salvation depends upon the free will of the man himself. When 
Galileo was forced to recant his belief in the motion of the earth 
round the sun, he could not repress the better convictions of his 
judgment, and muttered audibly, " It does move for all that !" And 
so, notwithstanding the blasphemies of Materialists, and the subtile 
teachings of a refined Agnostiscism, down in the depths of man's 
consciousness there is the feeling, that death does not end all. 
Cato, sitting with Plato's book on the immortality of the soul, 
in his hand, and a drawn sword on the table by him, thus 
soliloquizes : 


" It must be so — Plato thou reasoncst well, 

Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire, 

This longing after immortality ? 

Or whence this secret dread and inward horror 

Of falling into naught? Why shrinks the soul 

Back on herself, and startles at destruction ? 

'T is the divinity that stirs within us,. 

*T is Heaven itself, that points out a hereafter, 

And intimates eternity to man 

I shall never die — 

The soul secured in her existence, smiles 

At the drawn dagger, and defies its point. 

The stars shall fade away, the sun himself 

Grow dim with age and nature sink in years 

But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth, 

Unhurt amid the war of elements, 

The wreck of matter and the crash of worlds." 

Whatever then may be our views regarding the nature of a 
future state, and the eternity of future punishment, let us start out 
with the firm conviction that the immortality of the soul is not a 
mere hypothesis. If man's physical organism is of the dust, and 
returns to dust, his spirit is the inspiration of the Almighty. He 
is more than the poet says : " Half dust, half deity." While it is 
true that the meanest worm that crawls upon the ground has a part 
in him, it is not less true that he is a joint-heir with Christ, and 
destined to share the enduring honors of eternity, that are beyond 
the reach of mortals in the present life. As one of our own Cana- 
dian poetesses says : 

" Through life's long winter there falleth many a ray, 
Strayed from the eternal summer, to glorify the day ; 
And we were duller than cattle if we could not recognize 
The presence of life that liveth beyond our earthly skies." 

It is strange that any number of men should be prepared to 
welcome this humiliating and debasing doctrine of Materialism, 
assimilating man to the brute creation, and attempting to prove 
that he is but the creature of sense, and unfitted for an\ thing 


beyond animal enjoyments. Stranger still, in some respects, is it 
to find so many, utterly indifferent and unconcerned as to whether 
they shall live or not after death. Said a minister once to a lead- 
ing citizen, who never went inside a church except on funeral 
occasions, and then only as a token of respect for the dead, " I judge 
that your ideas of God, the Bible, and Immortality are very differ- 
ent from those which I have been accustomed to entertain. You 
must have thought much on these problems. Is there a God ? Has 
He even spoken to us ? Is there a future after death ? If so, what 
shall we do to prepare for it ? I wish you would give me the result 
of your thinking." "Oh, I don't know," was the reply; "some- 
times I think one thing, sometimes I think another — to tell the 
truth, I don't think much about it." The rush of business and car- 
nal pleasure drown all thought of personal accountability, while at 
the same time conscience, — 

"In leaves more durable than leaves ot brass, 

Writes our whole history which death sh.all read 

In every pale delinquent's private ear ; 

And judgment publish — publish to more worlds than this — 

And endless age in groans resound." 




HE account which the Scriptures give us of the Immor- 
taHty of man, is very exact. They inform us that man 
was created by God and placed in a condition which 
insured to him, if he had retained that condition, both 
a blessed and an immortal existence : that by his own fault 
he lost that condition, and with it the blessedness of immor- 
tality, and as a result became subject to temporal, spiritual and 
eternal death. 

But even this eternal death involves the idea of an eternal being. 
In the meantime, it pleased God not to leave man in this wretched 
condition, but to deliver him from it, by bestowing upon him an 
immortal existence of blessedness, after his body had risen from 
the grave and been united to his soul. 

This gives us, then, the distinct conception of the positive im- 
mortality of man : the immortality of each one of us, soul and body^ 
personally and absolutely ; so that we shall continue to be in eter- 
nity, the very being that each one of us was here on earth. The 
preservation of our personal identity throughout our future conscious 
existence, is an indispensable condition to every conception of an 
immortality, that shall be for us either a reward or a punishment, 
either a good or evil. But that preservation immortally of our per- 
sonal identity and conscious existence is impossible, except we be 
immortal both in soul and body. An immortality that has no 
moral quality, or in which no distinctions exist, or in which moral 


qualities are confounded and moral distinctions disregarded, is con- 
tradictory to the nature of God as a moral ruler, incompatible with 
the nature of man as a moral and accountable creature, and there- 
fore impossible and absurd. 

It is immaterial how many mutations the soul and the body 
may pass through : or how long or how ofteii they may be united 
or separated, in passing through those mutations. The real ques- 
tion is only as to the final and eternal state. It is also immaterial 
what that final and eternal state may be, as a state of woe or bliss, 
only that it be the just result, and to the very same person, whose 
conscious and identical existence is thus eternally continued. The 
great point is that man, created, fallen, redeemed, dead, risen and 
saved or lost, with a soul and body, is immortal, and will be eter- 
nally wretched or eternally blessed. 

There is no means by which we could arrive at the certainty of 
the annihilation of that soul, except by a divine revelation, and 
there is no such revelation. But except by annihilation, there is no 
means known to us by which an immaterial soul, any more than a 
particle of matter, could cease to exist. Therefore no soul will 
cease to exist, but all of them will live for ever. Nor is there any 
way in which we can conceive of the annihilation of the human 
body, any more than of an immaterial soul (the indestructibility of 
matter and the resurrection of the body being granted), except by 
a direct act of God's omnipotent power, which is incapable of belief, 
except upon his own declaration, and he has made no such declar- 
ation. Therefore every human body shall exist for ever. In virtue, 
therefore, of the nature of man's existence, the union of a reasonable 
soul with a material body, there remains no method of preventing 
the personal and continued self-conscious existence of each indi- 
vidual man, except by separating eternally his soul from his bod\', 
and thus destroying his continued, identical existence. 

Even upon the supposition of Atheism itself, it is not possible 
to prove that man is not immortal ; nor even to render probable 


that he is not. For, even supposing that there is no God, it is still 
certain that we exist, and if we exist here, and as we are, without 
any God, there is no reason why we may not exist hereafter also, 
without any God, If man be supposed to have an independent 
existence, without means exterior to himself, then the end and the 
means of his existence are in and from himself, and his annihilation 
is impossible in the very nature of the case. It is no answer to this 
to say, that death puts an end lo his existence ; for there are thous- 
ands of creatures around us, all inferior to ourselves, to whose ex- 
istence death appears to put an end, and yet after a while we behold 
them revive in new forms, and pass through various mutations, and 
at length recur again as they were before their death. Nor is it 
any answer to say, that as yet we have not seen this occur with 
man. For, we do not know except by Revelation, what may have 
occurred to the souls of the dead, and therefore to say they are 
extinct is the very silliest thing we could say. If then, upon the 
very strongest hypothesis that favors the annihilation of man, his 
immortality can be shown to be not only probable, but apparently 
inevitable ; it follows, that as soon as the hypothesis is robbed of 
its whole force, the force of truth, which it was destined to subvert 
(the immortality of the soul), becomes proportionately greater and 
more certain. 

Let us settle it, therefore, in our hearts that we have, and will 
eternally have, a personal, separate, self-conscious, identical exist- 
ence of soul and body ; the very soul which this day lives and 
struggles within the very body is to be united with it to all 
eternity ; there is for us a proper immortality, inconceivably glori- 
ous or shameful, the first steps of which we are already treading, 
and the whole complexion of which will be irrevocably determined, 
as we shall run and finish this first and briefest portion of our 
course, with sorrow or with joy." — REV. ROBERT J. Brecken- 
RIDGE, D. D., L L. D., (Kentucky, U. S.) 

" We do not argue immortality from our physical constitution. 
On the other hand, this in itself and in its affinities is strictly mortal, 


giving no promise beyond the present. Nor can we any more shape 
a rational expectation of future Hfc from anything which wc are 
pleased to term the essence of the human soul. Our ignorance here 
is too profound to give our thought any footing. We infer immor- 
tality from our rational constitution, taken with the character of 
God. If there is no spirit in man, if it is not the inspiration of the 
Almighty that giveth man understanding, then assuredly he will 
perish like the flowers, and no beauty will be any protection to him. 
Negatively, however, science has nothing of any moment to say 
against immortality. It finds, it is true, no proof for it in its own 
field, but from the very nature of the case it should not. Nor is 
there any rational presumption against immortality, save to those 
who make human experience a test of all possibilities. Its condi- 
tions, indeed, are inconceivable, but the reason of this is obvious. 
A life unlike our present life has no common terms in experience 
with it, and hence is inconceivable. The mystery of that future 
life, when it shall become a fact, will not be greater than of this life. 
Existence then will be somewhat less strange than existence now, 
for it will have an explanatory term back of it, which this life lacks. 
I. The first support for the doctrine of immortality is found in 
our spiritual constitution. The life of man, when it is brought to an 
end ill death, is manifestly not exhausted in its intellectual and 
spiritual resources. The life of the animal is so rounded in by 
physical conditions as to wax and wane with them. Man's higher 
powers, on the other hand, are capable of indefinite growth. These 
faculties of man are profoundly fitted for a further unfolding, and 
so indicate an intellectual purpose, and raise a moral demand in 
reference to it. Here are germs to which a future life is a correla- 
tive opportunity of development. The spiritual unrest of man is a 
fruit of the range of unsatisfied powers. He will not, in his hopes 
and aims, readily settle down into the narrow circuit of his physical 
life, and so far as he does this he is injured by the concession. All 
his lifting forces look toward immortality ; an irrepressible migra- 


tory impulse is in him, the product of his combined powers. In 
spite of physical decay, it is often manifest that Hfe closes at a 
maximum of spiritual energy. Thus, as Ranke says : " In every 
great life there comes a moment when the soul feels that it no 
longer lives in the present world, and draws back from it." This 
feeling does not arise from the decay of life, but from its weariness 
with conditions that are too slow for it, and which, in their exciting 
form, it has relatively exhausted. 

The whole object of evolution, the consummated labor of a life, 
will be lost without immortality. None of us are willing to take 
the present as the best term in evolution. If the rational fruits of 
the world are to be ripened they must be ripened in another life. 
Such a life is the out-door garden of this our conservatory. Who, 
sither in his thought or feeling, can say there is no other air, no 
higher heavens, in which these plants can blossom ; nothing save 
this stifled air and this glass within reach of my hand ! Nor is the 
protest less profoundly rational, less deeply based in our constitu- 
tion, because it is deeply emotional. 

2. The moral law is an unsuitable law for the guidance of a simply 
mortal life. It is one of self-sacrifice, it is one of protracted strug- 
gle, one of constant concession of pleasure to duty, of the present 
to the future. Now, if there is no future life, such a law is out of 
sorts. No man can well accept the moral law as one of spiritual 
insight, and not feel at once that the years of eternity must be 
given to it, in which to clear itself ; that a long day of fulfilment 
and peace is to follow and level up the end with the beginning. If 
this future drops them into oblivion, what then ? They have played 
the part, on the highest stage of the world, of a moral maniac. 

Those who most staunchly hold fast to immortality, do it by 
virtue of the force of their spiritual powers. It is easy to ridicule 
this argument, as if it involved the assertion that the existence of 
a belief and the strength of a belief prove its truth. The univer- 
sality and force of a belief do imply some occasion for it. Beliefs 


are fiicts, are effects, and have causes. The only proof we have of 
any truth, is in ultimate analysis, this same universality and per- 
tinacity of conviction. The impulse toward immortality, and the 
impulse in turn received from it, are very general in our race. But 
this impulse in men exists in its strongest, clearest form as they 
enlarge their spiritual powers, and in turn expands and nourishes 
those powers. 

3. This leads us to our last argument, and one which, in a measure, 
includes all the others. Immortality is the third word in the vocab- 
ulary of belief: Spirit, God, Immortality. A spirit, an Infinite 
Spirit, an eternal fellowship of spirits, this is the rational relation of 
ideas. A belief in immortality is the second highest expression of 
faith, and faith is the force of our spiritual life. 

We believe that the plan of God requires this completion of 
immortality. The present confusion and discord of the world in 
its moral facts are very plain. Immortality can plainly bring new 
light, new breadth, new fitness to these cramped and distorted 
moral facts. The truthfulness of God, the imperturbable support 
of faith, calls for immortality. The wise and kind parent is careful 
not to allow any deep, earnest desire, any pregnant hope, to be 
awakened in the mind of the child, which cannot find fulfilment. 
The love of God toward man leads to the same conclusion. Man 
seems spiritually capable of future life ; he covets it, he shapes his 
action in reference to it ; he is lifted by this hope ; he is restrained 
from evil and united to virtue. What other result can divine love 
grant, then, save this of immortality? The love of God for man 
would lose all high quality, would be like that which we have for 
t'.ie flowers of a single season, if the years are to sweep him quickly 
away, and that, too, before he has reached his flowering. Nor can 
man on these terms be properly called into any communion with 
God. We must ever stand as passing strangers about the threshold 
of the temple, or in its outer courts. That God having embraced 
man in this fellowship of love, should relax his hold, is a moral 


contradiction. Having begun such a work as this, he must needs 
carry it on to perfection. Having commenced a discipline, he will 
not arrest it ; having drawn forth love, he will not fling it away ; 
having bestowed love, he will not withdraw it. The pledge of the 
' Divine nature,' in his full spiritual force, is set as a seal to the im- 
mortality of the good — that ' where I am there ye may be also.' 
Death must remain the most melancholy fact conceivable in its 
spiritual bearings, if no life follows after it. There is no pallor like 
the pallor of the grave, no knell like the knell of the tomb, when 
affection buries its dead. Death stands as a victor over life ; light 
ends in darkness ; and the shadows of vanished pleasures only 
swell the sad retinue whose voice is a dirge. Whatever we may 
seem to make of the world under the ' divine wisdom ' in it, the 
fact of death still fills it with fear and silence ; for every spirit that 
has tasted life must take its solitary way back again to the regions 
of night. One word alters all, explains all, illuminates all, and that 
word is Immortality. — PRESIDENT JOHN Bascom, (University of 
Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.) 

The apparent -futility that has attended all efforts to prove the 
immortality of man, springs largely from the fact that a sense of 
immortality is an achievement in morals, and not an inference 
drawn by logical processes from the nature of things. It is not a 
demonstration to, or by, the reason, but a conviction gained through 
the spirit in the process of human life. All truth is an achieve- 
ment. If you would have truth at its full value, go win it. If there 
is any truth whose value lies in a moral process, it must be sought 
by that process. Other avenues will prove hard and uncertain, and 
will stop short of the goal. Eternal wisdom seems to say : If you 
would find immortal life, seek it in human life ; look neither into 
the heavens nor the earth, but into your own heart as it fulfils the 
duty of present existence. We are not mere minds for seeing and 
hearing truth, but beings set in a real world to achieve it. This is 
the secret of creation. 


But ii demonstration cannot yield a full sense of immortality, it 
does not follow that discussion and evidence are without value. 
Mind is auxiliary to spirit, and intellectual conviction may help 
moral belief. Doubts may be so heavy as to cease to be incentives, 
and become burdens. If there are any hints of immortality in the 
world or in the nature of man, we may welcome them. If there are 
denials of it that lose their force under inspection, we may clear our 
minds of them, for so we shall be freer to work out the only dem- 
onstration that will satisfy us. 

How did the idea of immortality come into the world ? It can- 
not be linked with the early superstitions that sprang out of the 
childhood of the race, — with fetichism and polytheism and image- 
worship ; nor is it akin to the early thought that personified and 
dramatized the forces of nature, and so built up the great mytholo- 
gies. These were the first rude efforts of men to find a cause of 
things, and to connect it with themselves in ways of worship and 
propitiation. But the idea of immortality had no such genesis. 
Men worshiped and propitiated long before they attained to a clear 
conception of a future life. A forecasting shadow of it may have 
hung over the early races ; a voice not fully articulate may have 
uttered some syllable of it, but the doctrine of personal immortality 
belongs to a later age. It grew into the consciousness of the world 
with the growth of man, and marked in its advent the stage of 
human history, when man began to recognize the dignity of his 
nature. It does not belong to the childhood of the race, nor can it 
be classed with the dreams and guesses in which ignorance sought 
refuge, nor with the superstitions through which men strove to ally 
themselves with nature and its powers. It came with the full con- 
sciousness of selfhood, and is the product of man's full and ripe 
thought ; it is not only not allied with the early superstitions, but 
is the reversal of them. These, in their last analysis, confessed 
man's subjection to nature and its powers, and shaped themselves 
into forms of expiation and propitiation ; they implied a low and 


feeble sense of his nature, and turned on his condition rather than 
on his nature — on a sense of the external world, and not on a per- 
ception of himself But the assertion of immortality is a triumph 
over nature — a denial of its forces. Man marches to the head and 
says : " I too am to be considered ; I also am a power ; I may be 
under the gods, but I claim for myself their destiny ; I am allied to 
nature, but I am its head, and will no longer confess myself to be 
its slave." The fact of such an origin should not only separate it 
from the superstitions, where of late there has been a tendency to 
rank it, but secure for it a large and generous place in the world of 
speculative thought. We should hesitate before we contradict the 
convictions of any age that wear these double signs of development 
and resistance ; nor should we treat lightly any lofty assertions that 
man may make of himself, especially when those assertions link 
themselves with truths of well-being and evident duty. 

The idea of immortality, thus achieved, naturally allies itself to 
religion, for a high conception of humanity is in itself religious. It 
built itself into the foundations of Christianity. It is of one sub- 
stance with Christianity — having the same conception of man ; it 
runs along with every duty and doctrine, tallying at every point ; 
it is the inspiration of the system ; each names itself by one syno- 
nym — life. Lodged thus in the conviction of the civilized world, 
the doctrine of immortality met with no serious resistance until it 
encountered modern science. When modern science — led by the 
principle of induction — transferred the thought of men from specu- 
lation to the physical world, and said, " Let us get at the facts ; let 
us find out what our five senses reveal to us," then immortality came 
under question simply because science could find no data for it. 
Science, as such, deals only with gases, fluids and solids, with length 
breadth and thickness. In such a domain, and amongst such phe- 
nomena no hint even of future existence can be found, and sciciice 
could only say, " I find no report of it." 

We do not to-day regret that science held itself so rigidly to its 
field and its principles of induction — that it refused to leap chasms. 


and to let in guesses for the sake of morals. But science has its 
phases and its progress. It held itself to its prescribed task of 
searching matter until it eluded its touch in the form of simple 
force — leaving it, so to speak, empty-handed. It had got a little 
deeper into the heavens with its lenses, and gone a little farther into 
matter with its retorts, but it had come no nearer the nature of 
things than it was at the outset, no nearer to an answer of those 
imperative questions which the human mind will ask until they arc 
answered — Whence ? How ? For what ? Not what I shall eat 
and how I shall be clothed, but what is the meaning of the world ? 
explain me to myself ; tell me what sort of a being I am — how I 
came to be here, and for what end. Such are the questions that 
men are forever repeating to themselves, and casting upon the wise 
for a possible answer. When chemistry put the key of the physical 
universe into the hand of science, it was well enough to give up a 
century to the dazzling picture it revealed. A century of concen- 
trated and universal gaze at the world out of whose dust we are 
made, and whose forces play in the throbs of our hearts, is not too 
much ; but after having sat so long before the brilliant play of 
elemental flames, and seen ourselves reduced to simple gas and 
force under laws for whose strength adamant is no measure, we 
have become a little restive and take up again the old questions. 
Science has not explained us to ourselves, nor compassed us in its 
retort, nor measured us in its law of continuity. You have shown 
me of what I am made, how put together, and linked my action to 
the invariable energy of the universe ; now tell me what I am ; 
explain to me consciousness, will, thought, desire, love, veneration. 
I confess myself to be all you say, but I know myself to be more ; 
tell me what that more is. Science, in its early and wisely narrov/ 
sense, could not respond to these demands. But it has enlarged its 
vocation under two impulses. It has pushed its researches until it 
has reached verges beyond which it cannot go, yet sees forces and 
phenomena that it cannot explain nor even speak of without using 


the nomenclature of metaphysics. Physical science has yielded to 
the necessity of allying itself with other sciences. All sciences are 
parts of one universal science. The chemist sits down by the meta- 
physician and says, Tell me what you know about consciousness ; 
and the theologian listens eagerly to the story of evolution. Unless 
we greatly misread the temper of recent science, it is ready to pass 
over certain phenomena it has discovered and questions it has 
raised to theology, and is ready to accept a report from any who 
can aid it in its exalted studies. This comity between the sciences 
insures a recognition of each other's conclusions. Whatever is true 
in one must be true in all. Whatever is necessary to the perfection 
of one cannot be ruled out of another. No true physiologist will 
define the physical man so as to exclude the social man ; nor will 
he so define the social and political man as to shut out the spiritual 
man ; nor will he so define the common humanity as to exclude 
personality. He will leave a margin for other sciences whose claims 
are as valid as those of his own. If, for example, immortality is a 
necessary coordinate of man's moral nature, — an evident part of its 
content, — the chemist and physiologist will not set it aside because 
they find no report of it in their fields. If it is a part of spiritual 
and moral science, it cannot be rejected because it is not found in 
physical science. * ***** 

But this negative attitude of natural science toward immortality 
does not by any means describe its relation to the great doctrine. 
While it has taught us to distrust immortality, because it could 
show us no appearance of it, it has provided us with a broader prin- 
ciple that undoes its work, — namely, the principle of reversing 
appearances. Once men said, This is as it appears ; to-day they 
say, The reality is not according to the first appearance, but is pro- 
bably the reverse. The sky seems solid ; the sun seems to move ; 
the earth seems to be at rest, and to be flat. Science has reversed 
these appearances and beliefs. Matter seems to be solid and at 
rest ; it is shown to be the contrary. The energy of an active agent 


seems to end with disorganization, but it really passes into another 
form. So it is throughout. The appearance in nature is nearly 
always, not false, but illusive, and our first interpretations of natural 
phenomena usually are the reverse of the reality. Of course this 
must be so ; it is the wisdom of creation — the secret of the world ; 
else knowledge would be immediate and without process, and a man 
a mere eye for seeing. Nature puts the reality at a distance and 
hides it behind a veil, and it is the office of mind in its relation to 
matter to penetrate the distance and get behind the veil ; and to 
make the process valuable in the highest degree, this feature of 
contrariety is put into nature. The human mind tends to rest in 
the first appearance ; science — more than any other teacher — tells 
it that it may not. But it is this premature confidence in first 
appearance that induces skepticism of immortality. No one wishes 
to doubt it ; our inmost souls plead for it ; our higher nature dis- 
dains a denial of it as ignoble. No poet, no lofty thinker suffers 
the eclipse of it to fall upon his page, but many a poet and thinker 
is — nay, are we not all ? — tormented by a horrible uncertainty cast 
by the appearance of dissolving nature, and rcenforced by the black 
silence of science ? The heavens are empty ; the earth is resolving 
back to fire-mist ; what theater is there for living man ? Brought 
together out of nature, sinking back into nature, — has man any 
other history? What, also, is so absolute in its appearance as 
death ? How silent are the generations behind us. How fast locked 
is the door of the grave. How speechless the speaking lips ; how 
sightless the seeing eye ; how still the m.oving form. Touch the 
cold hand ; cry to the ear ; crown the brow with weed or with 
flower — they are alike to it. It is an awful appearance ; is it abso- 
lute — final? Say what we will, here is the source of the dread mis- 
giving that haunts the mind of the age. Science has helped to 
create it, but it also has discovered its antidote. The minister of 
faith stands by this horrible appearance and says : " Not here, but 
risen." He might well be joined by the priest of science with words 


like these : " My vocation is to wrest truth out of ilkisive appear- 
ances. I do not find what you claim ; I find, instead, an appear- 
ance of the contrary ; but on that very principle you may be right ; 
the truth is generally the reverse of the appearance." To break 
away from the appearance of death — this is the imperative need ; 
and whatever science may say in detail, its larger work and also its 
method justify us in the effort. Hence the need of the imaginative 
eye and of noble thought. Men of lofty imagination are seldom 
deceived by death, surmounting more easily the illusions of sense. 
Victor Hugo probably knows far less of science than do Buchner 
and Vogt, but he knows a thousand things they have not dreamed 
of, which invest their science like an atmosphere, and turn its rays 
in directions unknown to them. 

Are we to be limited in our thought and belief by the dicta 
of natural science? In accounting for all things, are we shut up to 
matter and force and their phenomena? Science as positivism 
says : Yes, because matter and force are all we know, or can know. 
Another school says boldly : Matter and force account for all things 
— thought, and wiii, and consciousness ; a position denied by still 
another school, which admits the existence of something else, but 
claims that it is unknowable. If any one of these positions is ad- 
mitted, the question we are considering is an idle one, so far as 
demonstration is concerned ; it is even decided in the negative. The 
antagonist to these positions is metaphysics. Faith may surmount> 
but it cannot confute them without the aid of philosophy. Science 
is speechless before several fundamental questions that itself has 
put into the mouth of Philosophy. Science begins with matter in 
a homogeneous state of diffusion, — that is, at rest and without 
action, either eternally so, or as the result of exhausted force. Now, 
whence comes force ? Science has no answer except such as is 
couched under the phrase " an unknowable cause," which is a con- 
tradiction of terms, since a cause with a visible result is so far forth 
known. Again, there are mathematical formulae, or thought, in the 


stars, and in matter, as in cr\^stalHzation. Tiic law or thought of 
jjravitation necessarily goes before its action. What is the origin of 
this law as it begins to act ? — and why does it begin to act in matter 
at rest ? — a double question, to which science renders no answer. 
Again, Evolution, as interpreted by all the better schools of science, 
admits teleology, or an end in view ; and the end is humanity. But 
the teleological end was present when the nebulous matter first 
began to move. In what did this purpose then reside ? — in the nebu- 
lous matter, or in some mind outside of matter and capable of the con- 
ception of man ? Again, how do you pass from functional action of 
the brain to consciousness ? Science does not undertake to answer, 
but confesses that the chasm is impassable from its side. What, then, 
shall we do with the fact and phenomena of consciousness ? Again, 
what right has science, knowing nothing of the origin of force, and 
therefore not understanding its full nature, — what right has it to 
limit its action and its potentiality to the lunctional play of an 
organism? As science it can, of course, go no farther; you test 
and measure matter by mind ; but if matter is inclusive of mind, 
how can matter be tested and measured by it ? It is one clod or 
crystal analyzing another ; it is getting into the scales along with 
the thing you would weigh. 

These are specimens of the questions that philosophy puts to 
science. These questions are universal and imperative. No further 
word of denial or assertion can be spoken until they are answered. 
And as science does not answer them, philosophy undertakes to do 
so, and its answer is — Theism. The universe requires a creating 
mind ; it rests on mind and power. Metaphysics holds the field, 
and on its triumphant banner is the name of God. Science might 
also be pressed into close quarters as to the nature of this thing 
that it calls MATTER, which it thinks it can see and feel ; and how 
it sees and feels it, it does not know. Science itself has led up to 
a point where matter, and not God, becomes the unknowable. A 
little further struggle through this tangle of matter, and we may 


stand on a " peak of Darien " in " wild surmise '' before the ocean 
of the Spirit. 

The final word which the philosophical man within us addresses 
to our scientific man is this : Stop when you come to what seems 
to you to be an end of man ; and for this imperative reason, namely, 
you do not claim that you have compassed him ; you find in him 
that which you cannot explain — som.ething that lies back of energy 
and function, and is the cause or ground of the play of function. 
You admit consciousness ; you admit that while thought depends 
upon tissue, it is not tissue nor the action of tissue, and therefore 
may have some other ground of action ; you admit an impassable 
chasm between brain-action and consciousness. What right has 
science as science to leap that chasm with a negative in his hand ? 
And why should science object to attempts to bridge the chasm 
from the other side ? Physical science has left unexplained phen- 
omena ; may no other science take them up ? Science has left an 
entity — a something that it has felt but could not grasp, just as it 
has felt but could not grasp the ether. May not the science that 
gave to physics the ether try its hand at this unexplained remain- 
der? Let us have, then, no negative assertions ; this is the big<;try 
of science. But a generous-minded science will pass over this m)'s- 
tery to psychology, or to metaphysics, or to theology. If it is a 
substance, it has laws. If it is a force or a life, it has an environ- 
ment and a correspondence. If it is mind and spirit, it has a men- 
tal and spiritual environment ; and if the correspondence is perfect 
and the environment ample enough, this mind and spirit may have 
a commensurate history. This is logical, and also probable, even 
on the ground of science, for all its analogies indicate and sustain 
it. My conclusion is this : Until natural science can answer these 
questions put by other sciences, it has no right to assume the solu- 
tion of the problem of immortality, because this question lies within 
the domain of the unanswered questions. 

But has science no positive word to offer? The seeming antag- 
onist of immortality during its earlier studies of evolution, it now 


scc'-n^, in its later studies, about to become an ally. It siiclclcnly 
discovered that man was in the category of the brutes and of the 
whole previous order of development. It is now more than sus- 
pecting that, although in that order, he stands in a relation to it 
that forbids his being merged in it, and exempts him from a full 
action of its laws, and therefore presumably from its destinies. It 
has discovered that because man is the end of development he is 
not wholly in it — the product "of a process, and for that very reason 
cut off from the process. What thing is there that is made by man, 
or by nature after a plan and for an end, that is not separated from 
the process when it is finished, set in entirely different relations and 
put to different uses ? When a child is born, the first thing done is 
to sever the cord that binds it to its origin and through which it 
became what it is. The embryotic condition and processes and 
laws are left behind, and man walks forth under the heavens — the 
child of the stars and of the earth, born of their long travail, their 
p.-rfect and only offspring. Now he has new conditions, new laws, 
new methods and ends of his own. Now we have the image of the 
creating God— the child of the begetting Spirit. It is to such con- 
clusions that recent science is leading. Man is the end or product 
that nature had in view during the whole process of evolution ; 
when he is produced, the process ceases, and its laws either end at 
once or gradually, or take on a form supplementary to other laws, 
or are actually reversed. So freed, we have man as mind and 
spirit, evoK^ed or created out of nature, but no longer correlated to 
its methods, face to face with laws and forces hitherto unknown or 
but dimly shadowed, moving steadily in a direction opposite to that 
in which ho was produced. 

Receiving man thus at the hands of science, what shall we do 
with him but pass him over into the world to the verge of which 
science has brought him — the world of mind and spirit? From 
cosmic dust he has become a true person. What now ? What 
remains ? What, indeed, but llight, if man be found to have wino-s ? 


Or does he stand for a moment on the summit, exulting in his 
emergence from nature, only to roll back into the dust at its base ? 
There is a reason why the reptile should become a mammal : it is 
more life. Is there no like reason for man ? Shall he not have 
more life? If not, then to be a reptile is better than to be a man, 
for it can be more than itself; and man, instead of being the head 
of nature, goes to its foot. The dream of pessimism becomes a 
reality, justifying the remark that consciousness is the mistake and 
malady of nature. If man becomes no more than he now is, the 
whole process of gain and advance by which he has become what 
he is turns on itself and reverses its order. The benevolent pur- 
pose, seen at every stage as it yields to the next, stops it action, 
dies out, and goes no farther. The ever-swelling bubble of exist- 
ence, that has grown and distended till it reflects the light of heaven 
in all its glorious tints, bursts on the instant into nothingness. 

Proceeding now under theistic conceptions, I am confident that 
our scientific self goes along with our reasoning self when I claim 
that the process of evolution at every step and in every moment 
rests on God, and draws its energy from God. The relation, doubt- 
less, is organic, but no less are its processes conscious, voluntary, 
creative acts. Life was crowded into the process as fast as the plan 
admitted ; it was life and more life till the process culminated in 
man — the end towards which it had been steadily pressing. We 
have in this process the surest possible ground of expectation that 
God will crown his continuous gift of life with immortal life. When, 
at last, he has produced a being who is the image of himself, who 
has full consciousness and the creative will, who can act in right- 
eousness, who can adore and love and commune with his Creator, 
there is a reason — and if there is a reason there will be found a 
method — why the gift of immortal life should be conferred. God 
has at last secured in man the image of himself — an end and solu- 
tion of the whole process. Will he not set man in permanent and 
perfect relations^ Having elaborated his jewel till it reflects him- 


self, docs he gaze upon it for a briefer moment than he spent in 
producing it, and then cast it back into elemental chaos ? Science 
itself forces upon us the imperious question, and to science also arc 
we indebted for a hopeful answer — teaching us at last that we arc 
not bound to think of man as under the conditions and laws that 
produced him, — the END of the creative process, and therefore not 
OF it. Such is the logic of Evolution, and we could not well do 
without it. But we must follow it to its conclusions. Receiving at 
its hands a Creating Mind working by a teleological process toward 
man as the final product, we are bound to think consistently of 
these factors ; nor may we stop in our thought and leave them in 
confusion. If immortality seems a difficult problem, the denial or 
doubt of it casts upon us one more difficult. We have an intelli- 
gent Creator starting with such elements as cosmic dust, and pro- 
ceeding in an orderly process that may be indicated under Darwin's 
five laws, or Wallace's more pronounced theism, or Argyll's or 
Naudin's theory of constant creative energy, — it matters not which 
be followed, — developing the solid globe ; then orders of life that 
hardly escape matter ; then other orders that simply eat and move 
and procreate ; and so on to higher forms, but always aiming at 
man, for "the clod must think," the crystal must reason, and the 
fire must love, — all pressing steadily toward man, for whom the 
process has gone on and in whom it ends, because he — being what 
he is — turns on these very laws that produced him and reverses 
their action. The instincts have died out ; for necessity there is 
freedom ; for desire there is conscience ; natural selection is lost in 
intelligence ; the struggle for existence is checked and actually 
reversed under the moral nature, so that the weak live and the 
strong perish unless they protect the weak. A being who puts a 
contrast on all the ravening creation behind him, and lifts his face 
toward the heavens in adoration, and throws the arm of his saving 
love around all living things, and s® falls into sympathetic affinity 
with God himself and becomes a conscious creator of what is srood 


and true and beautiful — such is man. What will God do with this 
being after spending countless eons in creating him ? what will God 
do with his own image ? is the piercing question put to reason. I 
speak of ideal man — the man that has been and shall be ; of the 
meek who inherit the earth and rule over it in the sovereign power 
of love and goodness. How much of time, what field of existence 
and action, will God grant to this being ? The pulses of his heart 
wear out in less than a hundred years. Ten years are required for 
intelligence to replace the loss of instinct, so that relatively his full 
life is briefer than that of the higher animals. A quarter of his 
years is required for phys.jal and mental development ; a half — 
perchance a little more — is left for work and achievement, and the rest 
for dying. And he dies saying : I am the product of eternity, and 
I can return into eternity ; I have lived under the inspiration of 
eternal life, and I may claim it ; I have loved my God, my child, 
my brother man, and I know that love is an eternal thing. It has 
so announced itself to me, and I pass into its perfect and eternal 
realization. Measure this being thus, and then ask reason, ask God 
himself, if the pitiful three score and ten is a reasonable existence. 
There is no proportion between the production of man and the 
length of his life ; it is like spending a thousand years in building 
a pyrotechnic piece that burns against the sky for one moment and 
leaves the blackness of a night never again to be lighted. Such a 
destiny can be correlated to no possible conception of God nor of 
the world except that of pessimism — the philosophy of chaos — the 
logic that assumes order to prove disorder — that uses consciousness 
to prove that it is a disease. But any rational conception of God 
forces us to the conclusion that he will hold on to the final product 
of his long creative struggle. If man were simply a value, a fruit 
of use, an actor of intelligence, a creator of good, he would be worth 
preserving ; but if God loves man and man loves God, and so 
together they realize the ultimate and highest conception of being 
and destiny, it is impossible to believe that the knife of Omnipo- 

I08 i-UiuRi:. i'UxNi^UMtiNT. 

tencc will cut the cord<^ of that love and suffer man to fall bacV Into 
elemental flames ; for, if we do not live when we die, we pass into 
the hands of oxygen. Perhaps it is our destiny — it must be under 
some theories ; but it is not yet necessary under any accredited 
theory of science or philosophy to conceive of God as a Moloch 
l)urning his children in his fiery arms, nor as a Saturn devouring 
his own offspring. 

T am well aware that just here a distinction is made that takes 
off the edge of these horrible conclusions, — namely, that humanity 
survives though the individual perishes. This theory, which is not 
recent, had its origin in that phase of nature v/hich showed a con- 
stant disregard of the individual and a steady care for the type or 
class. It found its way from science into literature, where it took 
on the form of lofty sentiment and became almost a religion. It 
is a product of the too hasty theory that we may carry the analo- 
gies of nature over into the world of man, and lay them down 
squarely and without qualification as though they compassed him. 
Science no longer does this, but the blunder lives on in literature 
and the every-day thought of the world. But suppose it were true 
that the individual perishes and humanity survives, how much relief 
does it afford to thought ? It simply lengthens the day that must 
end in horrible doom. For the question recurs, how long will 
humanity continue? How long will the earth entertain that golden 
era when the individual shall peacefully live out his allotted years, 
and yield up the store of his life to the general fund of humanity, 
in the utter content of perfect negation ? I might perhaps make a 
total sacrifice for an eternal good, but I will sit down with the pes- 
simists sooner than sacrifice myself for a temporary good ; the total 
cannot be correlated to the temporary. If such sacrifice is ever 
made, it is the insanity of self-estimate, or rather is the outcome of 
an unconscious sense of a continuous life. How long do I live on 
in humanity? Only till the crust of the earth becomes a little 
thick-er. and days and nights grow longer, and the earth sucks tlie 


?.«• into its " interlunar caves" — now a sister to the moons Chaos 
does not lie behind this world, but ahead. The picture of the evo- 
lution of man through " dragons of the prime " is not so dreadful as 
that foreshadowed when the world shall have grown old, and envir- 
onment no longer favors full life. Humanity may mount high, but 
it must go down and reverse the steps of its ascent. Its lofty altru- 
ism will die out under hard conditions ; the struggle for existence 
will again resume its sway, and hungry hordes will fish in shallow- 
ing seas, and roam in the blasted forests of a dying world, breath- 
ing a thin atmosphere under which man shrinks towards an inevit- 
able extinction. Science paints the picture, but reason disdains it 
as the probable outcome of humanity. The future of this world as 
the abode of humanity is a mystery, though not wholly an unlighted 
one ; but under no possible conception can the world be regarded 
as the theater of the total history of the race. 

This altruism that assumes for itself a loftier morality in its 
willingness to part with personality and live on simply as influence 
and force, sweetening human life and deepening the blue of heaven 
— a view that colors the pages of George Eliot and also some un- 
fortunate pages of science, — is one of those theories that contains 
within itself its own refutation. It regards personalii'iy almost as 
an immorality : lose yourself in the general good ; it is but selfish 
to claim existence for self. It may be, indeed, but not if person- 
ality has attained to the law of love and service. Personality may 
not only reverse the law of selfishness, but it is the only condition 
under which it can be wholly reversed. If I can remain a person 
I can love and serve, — I may be a perpetual generator of love and 
service ; but if I cease to exist, I cease to create them, and leave a 
mere echo or trailing influence thinning out into an unmeaning uni- 
verse. Such an altruism limits the use and force of character tc 
the small opportunity of human life ; it is so much and no more, 
however long it may continue to act ; but the altruism of ideal and 
enduring personality continues to act forever, and possibly on an 


increasing scale. This altruism of benevolent annihilation cuts 
away the basis of its action. It pauperizes itself by one act of 
giving. — breaks its bank in the generosity of its issue. It is one 
thing to see the difficulties in the way of immortality, but quite 
another thing to erect annihilation into morality , and it is simply 
a blunder in logic to claim for such morality a superiority over that 
of those who hope to live on, wearing the crown of personality that 
struggling nature has placed on their heads, and serving its Author 
for ever and ever. The simple desire to live is neither moral nor 
immoral, but the desire to live for service and love is the highest 
morality and the only true altruism. 

I shall not follow the subject into those fields of human life and 
spiritual experience — it being a beaten path — where the assurances 
of immortality mount into clear vision, my aim having been to 
lessen the weight of the physical world as it hangs upon us in our 
upward flight. We cannot cut the bond that binds us to the world 
by pious assertion, nor cast it off by ecstatic struggles of the spirit, 
nor unbind it by any half-way processes of logic, nor bj' turning 
our back upon ascertained knowledge. We must have a clear path 
behind us if we would have a possible one before us. 

There are three chief realities, no one of which can be left out 
in attempts to solve the problem of destiny : man, the world, ?ind 
God. We must think of them in an orderly and consistent way. 
One reality cannot destroy nor lessen the force of another. If there 
has been apparent conflict in the past, it now seems to be drawing 
to a close ; the world agrees with theism, and matter no longer 
denies spirit. If, at one time, matter threatened to possess the uni- 
verse and include it under its laws, it has withdrawn its claim, and 
even finds itself driven to mind and to spirit as the larger factors of 
its own problems. Mind now has full liberty to think consistently 
of itself and of God, and, with such liberty, it finds itself driven to 
the conclusion of immortality by every consideration of its nature 


and by every fact of its condition, — its only refuge against hopeless 
mental confusion. 

Not from consciousness only, — knowing ourselves to be what 
we are, — but out of the mystery of ourselves, may we draw this 
sublime hope ; for we are correlated not only to the known, but to 
the unknown. The spirit transcends the visible, and by dream, by 
vision, by inextinguishable desire, by the unceasing cry of the con- 
scious creature for the Creator, by the aspiration after perfection, 
by the pressure of evil and by the weight of sorrow, penetrates the 
the realms beyond, knowing there must be meaning and purpose 
and end for the mystery that it is. — Rev T. T. Munger, (Con- 
densed from "The Century" Magazine, May, 1885.) 




" The g-ood and evii, in a moment, all 
Were changed, corruptible to incorrupt, 
And mortal to immortal : 
Tier loud, uncircumcised, tempestuous crew, 
How ill-prepared to meet their God ! were changed." 

" In no system which disposes of the wicked by annihilation 
will it be long" possible to maintain faith in the immortality of the 
good. If human souls enjoy no exemption from the lot which 
ordains that all things eventually become the prey of death, it is 
hard to believe that self-love is not deceiving us, when we flatter 
ourselves that we can escape the doom which overhangs not only 
all other created things, but also multitudes of our fcUowmen." 


AVING endeavored in previous chapters, to show the 
unreasonableness of Materialism in its different forms, 
and the certainty of Immortality, we now proceed to 
consider the doctrine of Conditional Immortality, or 
pY%^ the Annihilation of the Wicked, 

'^^ Stated concisely, and in the words of those who teach 

it. Conditional Immortality, or Annihilationism, is as follows : 
Eternal life or immortality is not the natural, unconditional, and 
indefeasible endowment of every human being born into the world, 
Christian and heathen, saint and sinner, infant and patriarch, sage 
and idiot, alike ; but the gift of God, bestowed only upon the true 
believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and by virtue of his vital union 
with him, who is at once the author and the Prince of life. The 
Bible nowhere teaches an inherent immortality, but teaches that it 
is the object of redemption to impart it. It shows that the com- 
munication of it requires a regeneration of man by the indwelling 
of the Holy Spirit, and a resurrection of the dead. It declares that 
those who will not return to God will die, and perish everlastingly. 
That in the exercise of His matchless love, God is pleased to bestow 
immortality upon mortals who receive His son, Jesus Christ our 
Lord. That the object of Christ's work is to restore to man the 
two things which he has lost, holiness and immortality ; that the 
actual enjoyment of these blessings by any human being depends 
upon his acceptance of the gospel, and those who refuse to do so. 


remain under the original sentence of death, but liable to additional 
stripes in the execution of it, which is called destruction, and is 
represented, literally or figuratively, by the most terrible of all des- 
tructive agencies, fire ; that some men will to the last receive the 
grace of God in vain, and consequently perish for ever. 

In the more recent publications of such men as White, Constable 
Petengell, and R. W. Dale (successor of John Angel James, Bir- 
mingham), who may be regarded as the representatives of this 
theory in England and America, such passages as the following 
occur : 

The idea that God has bestowed upon men, or upon any part 
of human nature, an inalienable immortality finds no sanction in 
the scriptures. In vain do men, bent on sustaining a human 
figment, ransack scripture for some expressions, which may be tor- 
tured into giving it an apparent support. Immortality was given 
to man at creation, but it was alienable. It might be parted with : 
it might be thrown away : it might be lost. This immortality was 
alienated : this priceless gift was thrown away and lost. Man 
sinned, and lost immortality. Sinful man is not by nature immor 
tal, but mortal. He has lowered himself to the level of the beasts 
that perish. If immortality is to be his again, it must be as a gift 
restored, and not inherited. It must become his by virtue of some 
new provision of grace, which reinstates him in the place he lost. 
This is the gospel of Christ, which gives back to man the eternal 
life which he had forfeited. God was manifested in human form 
for the renewal of eternal life. Christ has not bestowed this price- 
less gift upon all ; but on some only of the fallen race. It is the 
believer only who can say, " He redeemeth my life from destruc- 
tion." * * * Apart from Christ, the natural man has 
no possible ground of hope of immortality or eternal life. Immor- 
tality is only assured to every regenerated soul, through the death 
and resurrection of Christ. It is only by a new birth and a resur- 
rection from the dead THROUGH Christ, that any child of Adam 


:an possess this imperishable h'fe. * * * Unless man 

can be recovered from the doom of death, to which sin when it is 
finished inevitably leads, and reunited to God in holiness and love, 
he can have no fitness for this endless life, nor hope of attaining it. 
ends with death ; nor can there be any hope of a second life for any 
man, without a Divine supernatural interposition to raise him up 
again. * * * Punishment is eternal, but it consists in 

eternal death — that is, the loss of eternal life or existence. This 
death is attended and produced by such various degrees of pain, as 
God in his justice and wisdom thinks fit to inflict. The attendant 
pain, with its issue in death, are not two distinct punishments, but 
are one punishment, varying in degree of suffering according to the 
guilt of the object. The eternal state of the lost will not consist in 
an eternal life spent in pain of body or remorse of mind, but a state 
of utter death and destruction, which will abide for ever. The 
length of time which this process of dissolution may take, and the 
degrees of bodily or mental pain which may produce it, are ques- 
tions which we must leave to that providence of God, which will 
rule in hell as in heaven. Scope is thus provided for that great 
variety of punishment, which the reprobate will suffer hereafter, 
from that which in its justice is terrible to the sufferer, to that which 
with equal justice, is by him scarcely felt at all. 

The proofs adduced from the Old Testament in favor of the 
annihilation of the wicked, are such as these : Death was the pen- 
alty which God originally pronounced against human sin. Adam 
knew what death was in one sense only — the loss of being or exist- 
ence. He did not understand death to mean an eternal existence 
of agony, but simply that the penalty of disobedience was that he 
would become like the beasts that perish. It was not an eternal 
existence in pain, but the withdrawal of a life, whose true aim and 
object had been lost. The Old Testament Scriptures describe the 
end of the ungodly, as the resolution of organised substance into 


its original parts, its reduction to that condition in which it is, a^ 
though it had never been called into being, " The destruction of 
the transgressors and of sinners shall be together : they are pre- 
pared for the day of slaughter : God shall destroy them : They 
shall be consumed, cut off, rooted out of the land of the living ; 
blotted out of the Book of Life. The candle of the wicked shall be 
put out : as wax melteth before the fire, so shall the wicked perish 
at the presence of God : the wicked shall be turned into hell, and 
all the nations that forget God — they shall be as though they had 
not been." From such passages Annihilationists argue, that the 
punishment of the wicked consists not in life, but in the loss of life ; 
not in their continuance in that organised form which constitutes 
man, but in its dissolution : its resolution into its original parts, its 
becoming as though it never had been called into existence. While 
the redeemed are to know a life which knows no end, the lost arc 
to be reduced to a death which knows of no awakening for ever 
and ever. 

Passing on to the New Testament, the following texts are citcJ 
in support of the doctrine : " He that believeth not the Son, shall 
not see life : If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die : The wages of 
sin is death : Sin, when finished, bringeth forth death : The end of 
these things (fleshly lusts) is death : Every tree which bringeth not 
forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire : If our gospel 
be hid, it is hid to them that are lost : Who shall be punished with 
everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." The Greek 
noun " Apoleia," rendered " destruction " by the sacred writers, and 
the Greek verb " Apollumi," when speaking of future punishment, 
it is held, mean utter loss of existence, as when the Apostle says, 
that the ungodly are " vessels fitted to destruction." 

The illustrations of scripture also imply, it is argued by Annihi- 
lationists, that the wicked will come to an end, and cease to exist 
in hell. "They shall be dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel : they 
shall be like beasts that perish : like a whirlwind that passes away : 


\Vi<e a waterless garden scorched by an Eastern sun : like garments 
consumed by the moth : like a dream which flies away : thev shall 
be silent in darkness : shall be consumed like the fat of lambs in 
the fire — like smoke : like thorns : shall melt like wax, and burn 
like the tow — shall vanish away like exhausted waters. They shall 
be like wood cast into unquenchable flames : like chaff burned up : 
like tares consumed : like a dry branch reduced to ashes." 

Annihilationists, AS A CLASS, do not deny the resurrection of the 
wicked. They believe that all men shall rise in their bodies, to 
give an account of their deeds. But between the resurrection of the 
wicked and the just, there is a fundamental and essential difference. 
The one is raised to pain and shame : the other to joy and glory. 
The one is raised to die a second time : the other to die no more. 
The bodies of the just are changed at the resurrection, putting on 
incorruption and immortality ; while those of the wicked are raised 
unchanged, not putting on at resurrection either incorruption or im- 
mortality, but still natural bodies as they are sown, resuming with 
their old life their old mortality, subject to pain, and sure to yield 
to that of which pain is the symptom and precursor — physical death 
and dissolution. The notion of two everlasting kingdoms, running 
parallel with each other, the one a kingdom of purity and blessed- 
ness, the other a kingdom of sin and sorrow ; the one to resound 
with the praises and joyful songs of redeemed men and angels, and 
the other with the groans and blasphemies of lost sinners and devils 
to all eternity, is, they maintain, not a doctrine of the Bible, but a 
relic of Persian dualism and pagan superstition. 

Those who hold the doctrine of conditional immortality and the 
final annihilation of the wicked, of necessity regard the fifteenth 
chapter of ist Corinthians as simply intended to show the intimate 
connection between Christ and his people, in virtue of which they 
rise from the grave. That the Apostle does not discuss in the ab- 
stract the fact of the resurrection, but has special reference to the 
bearing of Christ's rising from the dead upon the believer's spiritual 


and eternal life, all commentators hold ; but that the resurrection 
of Christ and belief in a general resurrection are inseparably con- 
nected, is none the less admitted by every candid critic. The object 
of the apostle is not to argue the resurrection against certain scep- 
tics who denied a future life, but rather to show the inconsistency 
of certain professed believers, who attempted to acknowledge Christ 
as the Messiah, while denying a future existence. As Dr. John 
Brown says: "The whole of the apostle's statements and reason- 
ings refer solely to the resurrection of the just, of those who are 
Christ's — who stand to him in a relati'")n similar to that in which all 
men stand to Adam — the family of which Jesus is the elder brother, 
the first born, — the full harvest, of which he is the first fruits : NOT 
THAT Paul means to deny, what he elsewhere so EXPLI- 
THE UNJUST AS WELL AS THE JUST," nor that some of his argu- 
ments have not a bearing on that resurrection to condemnation as 
well as the resurrection to life ; but that the subject of his discourse 
being the resurrection to life, as a glorious privilege secured by 
Christ to his people, did not naturally lead him to speak of the 
resurrection to condemnation, which forms an important part of the 
just retributive punishment that awaits the impenitent and unbe- 
lieving." The resurrection of Christ and the general resurrection 
are indeed so related to one another, that they stand or fall together. 
" If Christ is risen, then the dead rise. If the dead rise not, then is 
Christ not raised." As Dr. Candlish shows in his able work, " Life 
in a risen Saviour," the question of the continued existence of man 
after death, is not raised in the argument, BUT IS EVERYWHERE 
IMPLIED. " We sh^M not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in 
a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump," is a state- 
ment that, taken in connection with other passages of scripture, 
theory of conditional immortality, and the ultimate destruction or 
annihilation of the impenitent wicked, equally with those who deny 

Circles of Glorified Souls, described as "Ga>lmds of ^^-':^^^^'^^[^ll'-;;ifp;Sse, Canto xii. t 


the latter, can agree in this— that Christ is the first fruits of his 
sleeping- saints, and that as he rose they shall also rise. The doc- 
trine of the Reformed Church is, that their bodies, still united to 
Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection. It is not the 
soul, but the body, that sleeps in Jesus. 

" The Fathers are in dust, yet live to God, 

So says the Truth : as if the motionless cldy 

Still held the seeds of life beneath the sod. 

Smouldering and struggling till the judgment day. 

Sophist may urge his cunning test, and deem 

That they are earth ; but they are heavenly shrines." 

But none the less true are the words of the apostle : " If there be no 
resurrection, then is Christ not risen : if the dead rise not, then is 
not Christ raised." To say that the resurrection of the wicked is 
simply an act of power and judgment, and is no part of redemption, 
does not satisfactorily answer the question, — why are the impeni- 
tent dead raised at all ? If for judgment, is it a judgment which is 
but the prelude to annihilation ? If so, whence the necessity of 
judgment — of torturing the resurrected body for a longer or shorter 
time, when death of both soul and body is so near ? The absurdity 
of such a doctrine led such a man as Theodore Parker to say : 
" I believe that Jesus Christ taught eternal torment. When the 
stiffened body goes down to the tomb, sad, silent, remorseless — I 
feel that there is no death for the man. That clod which yonder 
dust shall cover, is not my brother. The dust goes to his place, 
man to his own. It is then, I feel immortality. I look through the 
grave into heaven. I ask no miracle, no proof, no reasoning. I am 
conscious of eternal life." Christ in his conversation with the sisters 
of Bethany, after the death of their brother Lazarus, shows most 
conclusively the life which believers have in a risen Saviour, and the 
close relation in which he stands to his people. Whether, as alleged 
by those whose creed we are now discussing, Mary had no thought 
that Christ had anything in especial to do with resurrection, and 


had a mere general belief in a resurrection of the good and bad 
alike at the last day, is immaterial. Christ clearly teaches her, that 
the resurrection of boJievers is assured in virtue of their union to 
their Head. " I am the resurrection and the life : he that bclieveth 
in me though he were dead, yet shall he live : and whosoever liveth 
and believeth in me shall never die." Mary doubtless was thinking 
of the last day, when in company with all the hosts of the world's 
dead, her brother would rise again, a truth which the Saviour never 
once objected to, but frequently impressed upon the minds of his 
hearers. But in addition, he shows that apart from himself, there 
is no comfort in the prospect of a resurrection. He does not imply 
that there is no life in the future for the impenitent dead, or that 
such a life is only limited and of short duration ; but he shows 
that union betvv^een Christ and his people ensures victory over death 
and the grave, and eternal life and blessedness beyond the present. 
Christ and his people are one. His death is their death. By his 
sufferings and death he has satisfied the claims of divine justice — 
freed his people from condemnation, and raised them to the favor 
and fellowship of God. They are thus, as the apostle elsewhere 
expresses it, " quickened together with Christ, raised up together 
with Him, and made to sit with Him in heavenly places." Or, to 
use the very language of Annihilationists, " Christ is the cause and 
source of his people's resurrection : without Him they could have 
no resurrection : in Him, through Him, from Him and Him alone, 
their resurrection is to spring." 

But this is no new doctrine. It was not left to Annihilationists 
to proclaim for the first time to the world. It has been the belief 
for centuries of the Christian Church. Says the Prophet Isaiah, 
chapter 26, v. 19: " Thy dead men shall live: together with my 
dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust : 
for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the 
dead." This passage, as well as that contained in Ezekiel's prophe- 
cies, chapter 37, descriptive of the dry bones in the Valley of Vision. 


has doubtless a primary reference to the desolations sent upon the 
Jewish nation for its sins. Notwithstanding their past sad history, 
they are still beloved for their fathers' sake. In spite of their dis- 
persion among the nations of the earth, they shall again be gathered 
together, when their wanderings shall cease, their unbelief end, and 
when in point of privilege they shall b?come the joy and glory and 
envy of the world. These despised, degraded, downtrodden Jews, 
shall again be quickened into national and spiritual life, and realise 
a happier condition than under Solomon's reign. " Thy dead men 
shall live." When the set time to favor Zion comes, the walls shall 
be built, and the desolations and breaches repaired. Nor can any 
student of history fail to perceive, how marvellously the signs of the 
times, and the shakings of the nations, are hastening on this blessed 
consummation. Kingdoms are being rent in pieces, and thrones 
demolished. New sovereignties and alliances are springing up, and 
empires being established on the soil where but recently civilisation 
has made her first conquests. Embattled hosts are going forward 
to deadly struggles for the maintenance of national honor, the 
removal of real or fancied wrongs, and the help of the oppressed. 
Such things in themselves may seem comparatively insignificant, 
but they are working out grand results, underneath the surface of 
society, such as the ingathering of the Jews and the evangelisation 
of the Gentiles. It is not simply that the scales of unbelief shall 
be taken from eyes^ of the Jews, enabling them to recognise Christ 
as the promised Messiah of Old Testament times, but along with 
their conversion shall come the latter day glory. When Israel has 
been reinstated, we shall see the downfall of hoary systems of super- 
stition, that for centuries have enslaved the human mind. 

But the passage has a direct bearing on the subject under dis- 
cussion. It intimates, in common with New Testament texts 
already quoted, that the resurrection of be» levers is intimately con- 
nected with the resurrection of Christ. " Thy dead men shall live, 
together with my dead body shall they arise." Elsewhere we read : 


"When he who is your Hfe shall appear, ye also shall appear with 
him in glory." "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with 
a shout : with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of 
God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first." What then do we 
mean by saying, that believers rise with Christ? What is the nature of 
that union between Christ and his people, that involves and ensures 
such a consequence ? It may be admitted at once, that the scrip- 
tures nowhere represent the resurrection OF ALL THE DEAD, as the 
direct result of the resurrection of Christ. It need not be assumed, 
in combatting the views of Annihilationists, that the death and 
resurrection of Christ has secured the resurrection of all who now 
sleep in their graves, saints and sinners indiscriminately. A resur- 
rection of the body is a necessity, in order that men may receive 
sentence according to their lives in the flesh. In the case of believ- 
ers, more than the mere fact of resurrection is guaranteed — instead 
of being one to dishonor and condemnation, it is one to life and 
immortality. It is a glorious awakening, and the enjo)-ment of per- 
fect and endless felicity in the world to come. 

There is, then, vast meaning in the words, " TOGETHER with 
MY DEAD BODY shall they arise." Most vividly is the preciousness 
of union to a crucified Saviour revealed. Faith not only ensures to 
the believer all present spiritual blessings, but makes him an actual 
sharer in the future destiny of his risen Lord. Christ has died— 
that is a comforting truth : but if he has not risen, the believer's 
redemption is incomplete. But Christ has risen. His sacrifice has 
been accepted. The believer's sins are no longer imputed to him. 
When he dies, it is not IN his sins and under the condemnation of 
the law, but he falls asleep in Jesus. He enters the grave, and for 
a brief season is subject to the last enemy, that like his Master, he 
may at last conspicuously conquer him. There is such an intimate 
union between Christ and the believer, that it is not until he rises 
from the grave that the great purposes of Christ's death and resur- 
rection are complete, " Christ's body still lies in the tomb, where 


his buried saints are laid. It is His body that h'es unburied on the 
plain, and in the deep, where the bones of His unburied saints are 
scattered." And not until the final results of redemption are dis- 
closed at His second coming, shall it be known, how intimate is the 
union between Christ and His people. In the resurrection of the 
body of His saints, shall be the completion of His own. 

But none the less does this passage, taken in connection with 
the whole analogy of scripture, teach that ALL shall rise from their 
graves, not for annihilation near or more remote, but for judgment, 
to be followed by an eternity of weal or woe. Whether the grave 
has been the bed of ocean, where no friendly footstep has ever 
trod : or the battle field, where undistinguished amid the countless 
dead, there lies the stiffened corpse of beloved son or cherished 
lover, whose last fond cry no fond ear heard, and whose dying ago- 
nies no kindly hand of affection lightened : or the quiet village 
churchyard, where amid flowers and cypresses and kindred the body 
rests peacefully ; — wherever our last resting place may be, the graves 
shall cast forth their dead at the command of Christ. 

There is, indeed, something grand in the thought of resurrection ! 
Nature revolts at the thought of annihilation. Who can bear to 
think of death as the everlasting destruction of these poor bodies, 
far less of the immortal spirits which inhabit them ? During the 
long winter months, when the external world lies dormant, and 
nature seems asleep under her icy covering, is it not the knowledge 
of coming spring, when birds sing and flowers bloom, and streams 
and rivers murmur to the song of the husbandman, as he turns up 
the furrows and sows his seed, that fills the heart with hope, and 
revives our drooping energies ? Spring is indeed the earnest and 
harbinger of resurrection. The grasp of winter relaxes ; barren- 
ness, bleakness and chilliness, give place to beauty, fragrance and 
fertility ; crocuses, snowdrops and violets peer through the melting 
snow ; trees that formerly echoed the sighings of the wind, regain 
their foliage ; the seed long buried under the earth bursts its sepul- 


chrc, and nature throughout her wide domain swells with tnc nymn 
of gladness. And so when we lay our dead in the narrow house 
appointed for all the living, is it not the firm belief that death is the 
way to life — that these natural bodies shall put on supernatural and 
spiritual bodies, that prevents us following the example of the poor 
despairing Hindoo, who casts Ms body on the funereal pile of his 
departed friend, glad to end an existence that promises nothing at 
its close but misery and annihilation ? 

But the fact of a general resurrection, followed by an endless 
life, has a dark side as well as a bright one. There is a resurrection 
to life, but there is also a resurrection to damnation. " Many of 
them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to ever- 
lasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Is it 
not this solemn consideration that inclines so many to deny IN 
TOTO the doctrine of a resurrection, and oppose the plain declara- 
tions of scripture by the novelties and negations of science and the 
doctrine of annihilation. The moment the doctrine of a resurrec- 
tion is admitted, we are shut up to the fact of a judgment that fol- 
lows, whose sentences demand an eternity for their execution. 
What a terrible prospect this holds out for the ungodly ? Better 
indeed that the grave were their eternal abiding place — that the 
soul perished with the dissolution of the body ; better far they had 
never lived, than die unpardoned ! The remark was once made, 
that a man should leave life as cheerfully as a visitor who has exam- 
ined an antiquary's cabinet sees the curtain drawn again, and makes 
way to admit fresh pilgrims to the show, " Yes," replied Johnson, 
" if he is sure he is to be well after he goes out of it. But if he is 
to grow blind after he goes out of the show-room, and never to see 
anytiiing again, or if he does not know whither he is to go next, a 
man will not go cheerfully out of a show-room. No wise man will 
be contented to die if he thinks he is to go into a state of punish- 
ment. Nay, no wise man will be contented to die, if he thinks he 
is to fall into annihilation, for however unhappy any man's existence 


may be, he would rather have it than not exist at all. No ; there 
is no rational principle by which a man can die contented, but a 
trust in the mercy of God, through the merits of Jesus Christ." 

Let us now briefly examine a few passages, in which the advo- 
cates of conditional immortality profess to find the doctrine of 
Annihilation taught. For a fuller discussion of such texts, we refer 
the reader to the lectures of the Rev. George Rogers, Theological 
Tutor in Spurgeon's College, and the elaborate paper by the Rev. 
Professor McLaren, at the close of this chapter. 

Second Thessalonians, i, v. 9 — " Who shall be punished with 
everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the 
glory of his power." In this word destruction (Gr. olethros), it is 
maintained "annihilation" is implied. Destruction, says Mr. White, 
means destruction and nothing else. But if destruction means anni- 
hilation, why should it be styled everlasting ? The phrase ever- 
lasting annihilation is without meaning, contradictory and- absurd. 
If intended to teach the death of the wicked, body and soul, "anni- 
hilation " alone would convey the meaning. Rightly interpreted, 
it means, "everlastingly being punished and destroyed." 

First Thessalonians, 5, v. 3 — " When they shall say, Peace and 
safety, then sudden destruction (Gr. olethros) cometh upon them, 
and they shall not escape." Destruction is here opposed to peace 
and safety, from which there is no escape, but annihilation would 
certainly be a way of escape ! 

First Timothy, 6, v. 9 — " They that will be rich fall into temp- 
tation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which 
drown men in destruction (Gr. olethros) and in perdition." Accord- 
ing to the forced interpretation put upon it, this means drowned 
first in annihilation, and then in perdition ! 

Upon the Greek word, " apoUumi," says Mr. Rogers, great con- 
fidence is placed in support of the annihilation theory. Authorities 
are quoted to show that when applied to the living it always signi- 
fies to destroy life ; that is, of course, annihilation, for it is in 


defence of this alone that it is adduced. In relation to other ol jects 
we arc told it has the sense of loss ; when applied to men, of anni- 
hilation. An instance is given in a literal translation of i Cor. xv, 
17, 18, " But if Christ has not been raised from the dead your faith 
is vain, ye arc yet in your sins, and as a consequence, those who fell 
asleep in Christ were annihilated (apolonto)." Let us see how the 
same apostle uses the same word elsewhere in the same epistle. In 
I Cor. i, 18, we read, "The preaching ot the cross is to them that 
perish foolishness ; but unto us which are saved it is the power of 
God." This in both instances is a reference to men in this life. 
The one were then saved and the other were then perishing, but 
not being annihilated. We have the same word in 2 Cor. iv. 3, 
" But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are ANNIHILATED." 
I Cor. viii. 1 1, "Through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother 
perish (BE ANNIHILATED), for whom Christ died ?" i Cor. x. 9, 10, 
" Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and 
were destroyed (annihilated) of serpents (apolonto). Neither 
murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed 
of the destroyer," annihilated (apolonto) by the annihilator. This 
last word is a derivative of the term previously considered. In 
Matt. iv. 38, we have the disciples waking their Master in the ship 
by saying, according to the INVARIABLE RENDERING WHEN 
APPLIED TO THE LIFE OF MAN, " Master, carest thou not that we 
are annihilated?" Matt. x. 6, "Go rather to the lost (THE 
ANNIHILATED) sheep of the house of Israel." In Luke xv. 24, the 
Father, by the new translation is made to say of his restored prodi- 
gal, "This my son was dead, and is alive again, was ANNIHILATED 
and is found." In all these instances we have strictly adhered to 
the rule of the object of the verb being living men. Whether there- 
fore, in every such instance it has but one meaning, and that mean- 
ing is annihilation, judge ye. Supposing even it could be shown 
to have but the one meaning of annihilation, it says nothing of 
its being preceded by a long period of suffering. As to the 


figures employed as illustrative of future punishment, chaff burned 
up with unquenchable fire, tares bound up in bundles to be burned, 
a stone grinding to powder, a tree cut down and cast into the fire, 
it is admitted that in these cases chaff as chaff is annihilated, and 
so of the tares and trees ; but what evidence is there that this was 
the point of comparison intended ? There was no design surely to 
teach that men were chaff, and tares, and trees, and that their end 
would be the same ! These figures are obviously intended to show 
how easily God can avenge himself of his adversaries. 

One or two texts in direct opposition to the doctrine of annihi- 
lation, may fitly conclude this portion of our subject : 

The first of these is in Matt. xxv. 46 : " These shall go away 
into everlasting punishment, but the righteous unto life eternal." 
The same word is here used in the original, both for everlasting and 
eternal. The same eternity is affirmed of the punishment of the 
wicked as of the life of the righteous. They are the words of Christ, 
and if it were not so, he would have told us. There is no qualifi- 
cation in the one case, as there should have been if the eternities 
were not the same. If the word for eternal means temporary dur- 
ation in the one proposition, it does so in the other ; if real eternity 
in the one, it means real eternity in the other. It is in vain to say, 
" that which is eternal is not always everlasting," and so endeavor 
to discriminate between everlasting judging and the eternal effect 
of a judgment, since it would equally apply to the righteous and 
the wicked. It is in vain to speak of annihilation as part of eternal 
punishment, since it is no punishment to the tormented, and to 
speak of punishment extending beyond existence is absurd ; and 
annihilation might just as much be eternal happiness to the 
righteous as eternal punishment to the wicked. It is in vain, too, 
to go back to other expressions in Matthew's writings which are 
supposed to be in opposition to this one. They are chiefly figura- 
tive, and amount not altogether to a single proposition like the one 


before us ; and should, therefore, be interpreted by it, and. in fact, 
are in harmony with it. 

The second text is in Mark ix. 44. 46, 48, where the same words 
occur thrice, " Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not 
quenched." Here is something that dieth not, and something that 
is not quenched, and both spoken of in reference to the punishment 
of the wicked. Upon the supposition of annihilation after suffering, 
the " worm,'' whatever it might be, of the wicked must die, and the 
fire of their torment be quenched. We do not want to know what 
i^eaning such words might have in the writings of Isaiah, but what 
is the interpretation which Christ put upon them, and the impres- 
sion they were calculated to produce in the minds of those to whom 
he addressed them ? They are not certainly such words as he 
would have used if he had not intended to produce in them the 
fear of everlasting torments. " For every one shall be salted with 
fire," which immediately follows this declaration, Mr. White says, 
"perhaps signifies that the dead bodies of the wicked, LIKE THAT 
OF Lot's wife, will be preserved as an abiding memorial of their 
awful punishment in hell, but not necessarily for an absolute eter- 
nity." This is a comment upon Isaiah, "And they shall go forth 
and look upon the carcases of the transgressors !" What next ? 
It has the credit at least of keeping to the literal sense. 

For these and other reasons, we must still hold to the immor- 
tality of the righteous and wicked alike. This has been the uni- 
versal belief of the christian church since the days of the apostles, 
nor did Christ ever say one word against this so-called " dangerous 
heresy." Greater theologians than the Annihilationists of the 
present age, such as Turretin, Owen, Jonathan Edwards and George 
Whitfield, have held it and preached it. The doctrine of the end- 
less misery of unregenerate men is in fact a consequent of the other 
accepted doctrines of revelation — if not endless, our estimate of the 
grace of God in redemption must be materially changed ! 


As a further reason for holding this doctrine (apart from the texts 
of scripture quoted), the advocates of annihilationism or conditional 
immortality use very much the same language as Universalists do, 
when urging for the ultimate restoration of all men to the favor of 
God. That countless millions of the human race should be tor- 
mented forever, without either the hope of death or deliverance, is, 
they say, too awful for thought. The attempt to conceive it agon- 
ises the heart, staggers the understanding, and exceeds the capacity 
of belief Such an amazing infliction of woe must not be attributed 
to the merciful and glorious God, unless He expressly declared it 
in so many words. But he has not done so. A hell of eternal 
misery is the most frightful delusion that was ever presented to the 
mind. The Judge of all the earth does right, but this would be 

Our answer to this is, if an eternity of misery be supposed to be 
contrary to both the justice and the mercy of God, much more may 
this be affirmed of temporary punishment and subsequent annihi- 
lation. Admit the immortality of the human race to have been 
essential, either by necessity or decree, at its first origin, that eter- 
nity was a foregone conclusion before man had done good or evil, 
and that the consequences on either side must be eternal, and the 
eternity of punishment becomes inevitable. Admit THAT IMMOR- 
one case, the immortality was given for bliss which they have per- 
verted to suffering ; in the other, God continues them in being that 
he may take vengeance upon them before he annihilates them. 

As to the moment when annihilation takes place, and as to the 
nature,duration and severity of suffering, which the finally impenitent 
must undergo before the last moment of their existence, and as to 
the means by which they will be put out of existence, they tell us 
nothing. Difficulties connected with such matters of detail as to 
how much this or that person should suffer, they leave unsolved, 


being confident that God will at least justify all his proceedings to 
the entire satisfaction of the intelligent universe. This much, how- 
ever, they are assured of, that neither love, justice, nor anything 
else, requires the Creator to continue to a creature the highest trust 
that can be committed to him, that of life, if he persistently 
abuses it. 

While, then, we do not put Annihilationists, or those who believe 
in conditional immortality, in the same category with Materialists, 
it is very evident they have much in common. Both deny that the 
soul in its essence is imperishable. If pure spirit, it cannot be sub- 
ject to decay or decomposition. To evade this difficulty, by calling 
the soul " a spiritual substance," capable of annihilation, is to 
announce a theory that is simply self-contradictory and incom- 

In brief, then, Annihilationists maintain that evil, natural and 
moral, must come to an end. According to the government of 
a perfect being it cannot be eternal. This end will be brought 
about, not by all being restored to God's favor, as is taught by 
Universalists, but by the destruction of the wicked. The penalty 
Df sin, according to this theory, is death — the return of man, body 
and soul, to the earth from which he came. This punishment of 
annihilation is, however, to be regarded as a merciful arrangement 
received at the hands of God, whose mercy is co-equal with His 
judgment, and who will suffer them to go back to their original 
slements and cease from existence, as entitled to neither name nor 
place in all the universe of God. It need not be accompanied b}- 
conscious pain. It is simply excision — a cutting off from life — 
sternal privation of being. 

Instead of taking up and examining passages of scripture, as wc 
have done, if we can show a single instance in which the immor- 
tality of the wicked is taught side by side with that of the righteous, 
the folly and falsity of Annihilationism will be shown. The parable 
of the rich man and Lazarus is of such a class. There, if anywhere. 


it is taught that the dead are conscious, that the souls of all men 
are immortal, and that on leaving this world all men go at once 
into a state of blessedness or joy, or of torment that is absolutely 
unchangeable and eternal. It contrasts the condition of men, here 
and hereafter, who live for self-indulgence. It shows the result of 
reckless abuse of God's temporal gifts ; indifference to the claims 
of the poor, and forgetfulness of a future existence, where men shall 
be rewarded or punished, according to the deeds done in the body. 
Some give to it an allegorical interpretation, as setting forth the 
relations between Jews and Gentiles. The rich man, according to 
this theory, represents the Jewish nation. His being clad in purple 
and fine linen, indicates the abundant blessings, material and spir- 
itual, which they enjoyed above others. Lazarus, the beggar, repre- 
sents the Gentile world. His sores are the sins of the Pagan world, 
spoken of in Romans i. 23, 32. The hard-heartedness of the rich 
man toward the beggar refers to the stolid indifference of the Jews 
toward the perishing heathen, who regarded themselves as alone 
included in the covenant of promise. The death and punishment 
of the rich man illustrates the final issue of the Jewish economy, 
and the dispersion of the Jews for their blindness and unbelief. The 
death of Lazarus and his reception into Abraham's bosom, marks 
the entrance of the Gentile world upon the possession of gospel 
privileges ; and the five brethren are all who, like the Jewish nation 
in later days, refuse salvation on the plea of want of evidence, and 
abuse God's compassion and long suffering by continuance in sin. 
Now some of these applications may be true, but Christ in this par- 
able teaches far more practical lessons for nominal professors of 
Christianity in modern times. " He places an ordinary world scene 
in such a focus, that the monotonous buzz and din and common- 
place of the life that is, comes echoed back in terrific thunder tones 
from the endless vista of the life to come, showing how the mortal 
humanity reaches onward and becomes the immortal humanity, 
inhabiting eternity ;" that if men will live merely for the gratifica- 


tion of the senses, regardless of the claims of others, and making 
no provision for eternity, they shall reap the bitter fruit of their 
unbelief in a world of endless woe. 

The question of an intermediate state need not now be argued, 
although much may be said in tavor of it, from the language of the 
parable. What it does emphatically teach is the eternal existence 
of the wicked equally with the good. The rich man having died 
and been buried, " in hell, or hades, lifted up his eyes, being in 
torment." Now while the word " hades " literally means the 
" unseen," and might be translated the spirit world, without regard 
to the character of those who inhabit it, it is only used to indicate 
death or the grave on the one hand, or the abode of the lost on the 
other. Hades is the abode of the ungodly after death. Nowhere 
are believers said to be in this place. If we suppose that the scene 
is laid in the middle state, between death and the judgment, it 
teaches that the impenitent live on and suffer. Between the place 
of torment and paradise "a great gulf is fixed" — fixed for eternity. 
So that if even in " hades " before the resurrection and judgment, all 
help and hope is so utterly excluded, what must it be in GEHENNA, 
the final doom of lost souls, after the resurrection of the body, the 
resurrection of damnation, " and the final judgment ?" 

In the light of these preliminary remarks, let us look at the 

" There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and 
fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day." He was no miser. 
He did not hoard up the blessings of heaven, but lived in jovial 
splendor. He was dressed in the purple of kings, and in linen that 
was worth its weight in gold. The fact of his being rich is not, 
however, charged against him as a sin, nor his gorgeous raiment, 
nor his generous hospitality. No moral accusation or crime is laid 
to his charge. So far as we know he had got his money honestly 
— not by robbing the poor, nor by unjust merchandise, nor profit- 
able bankruptcies, but by honorable industry. What, then, was 


his sin ? " There was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was 
laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs 
which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and 
licked his sores." Nothing is said of the former history of this 
beggar. Probably he was laid at the gate of the rich man by friends 
whose ability longer to support him was exhausted. The rich 
man's indifference to the beggar cannot be excused. Lazarus was 
at his gate, within sight and reach. He was not only poor, but 
sorely afflicted with a loathsome disease, probably produced or 
aggravated by hunger and want. His demands were not great. 
He did not seek admission to the rich man's dwelling, nor a place 
at his table. He merely asked the crumbs that fell from his tabic. 
Yet this was denied him. No kind word was spoken, and no hand 
of mercy stretched out to the dying beggar. The dogs licked his 
sores, while his brother man refused him pity. There he lay day 
after day, patiently suffering, and waiting release from the ills of 
life. "It came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the 
angels into Abraham's bosom." Providence mercifully interposed 
and shortened his days of misery. Nothing is said regarding the 
circumstances of his death. Says a living preacher : " I think I sec 
the picture. The ulcers had eaten deep into the vitals, and the soft 
tongues of the dogs could not probe to the root of the disease ; the 
eyes became more sunken, and the cheeks more hollow, and the 
fingers of death set their mark on every limb and look. The ser- 
vants perhaps noticed the change, feeling thankful that they would 
soon be delivered from such an odious bundle of rags and sores. 
At last the hour came. Very likely there was high feasting within, 
and the guests congratulated each other and praised their host, 
while the music streamed through the open doors to the ears ot the 
dying beggar. Hunger was gnawing at the roots of life, and the 
sores were giving their last stings. There was no cool, friendly 
hand laid upon his brow — no draught to still the pain — no soft kiss 
of affection to mitigate the final encounter with the king of terrors. 


The pulse gets weaker and the breath longer drawn, and the stones 
which serve as a pillow seem harder than before, a little longer the 
spirit struggles, one more convulsive throb, the chin falls on the 
breast, and Lazarus is dead." The " Pauper's Deathbed " of 
Southcy vividly describes the scene : 

" Tread softly ! bow the head 

In reverent silence now ! 
No passing bell doth toll ; 
Yet an immortal soul 

Is passing now. 

That pavement damp and cold 

No smiling courtiers tread : 
One silent woman stands, 
Lifting with meagre hands, 

A dying head. 

O ! change, O ! wondrous change ! 

Burst are the prison bars ! 
This moment there, so low 
So agonised — and now 

Beyond the stars !" 

He had doubtless the usual pauper's burial, analagous to that 
of modern timea 

" Rattle his bones, over the stones, 
It's only a pauper, whom nobody owns ;" 

but what mattered it, for "the new immortality waked with God." 
"The rich man also died, and was buried." His wealth did not 
secure him a perpetual lease of existence ; whether vv^hen too late 
he awoke to realise his condition, or remained skeptical of a future 
world, we are not informed. Doubtless his death was deeply re- 
gretted among a certain class. The body was laid out in state, and 
was followed to the grave by a long cortege of mourners, who rent 
their garments and lamented in Oriental fashion. Dust to dust and 
ashes to ashes, and the scene now changes, " In hell or hades, he 
lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, 

The Punishment allotted to evil counsellors and those who have abused; their talents. 

^.^^ —The Inferno Canto xxvi 


and Lazarus In his bosom." While this language does not proba- 
bly refer to the sufferings of the impenitent dead, after the resur- 
rection and final judgment, it seems clearly to teach that so soon 
as the soul passes from time to eternity, there begins that soul 
anguish, for which there is no alleviation. No consolation can be 
deduced from such a passage in favor of the doctrine of annihilation. 
Whatever opinion may be entertained of the nature of the suffer- 
ings that await the impenitent sinner — whether the accusations of 
an accusing and maddened conscience or otherwise, the parable 
teaches that punishment of some kind begins immediately after 
death, and that this is inflicted upon the disembodied spirit prior 
to the resurrection. 

The rich man now fully realises his position. The misery and 
agony that he now experiences, is in fearful contrast to his life of 
pleasure and gayety. In hell and in torments he cries :" Father 
Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may 
dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I 
am tormented in this flame." Paradise, according to a Jewish tra- 
dition, is removed from hell only by a hairbreadth, so that one could 
see from one to the other. We trust this is only tradition, for the 
sights would be anything but pleasing to the saints. The request 
of the rich man, though small was denied. There is no hope now 
for mercy. In his life he had shown none. "Thou in thy life 
received good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he 
is comforted and thou art tormented." Not only so, continued 
Abraham, but " between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so 
that they that would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can 
they pass to us that would come from you." Finally there comes 
the request for his brethren (v. 27, 31). He feels his own condition 
hopeless ; it is blank despair, without one ray of hope. His breth- 
ren are Sadducees, as he was himself. They believed in no future 
existence nor day of reckoning. If Lazarus cannot cross the im- 
passable gulf between paradise and hades, he may return to earth 


and testify of what he has seen in the world of woe. Abraham's 
reply is reasonable, but decided. Salvation is an utter impossibility 
unless through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and a saving recep- 
tion of the gospel, " They have Moses and the prophets." These 
were sufficient, they were the appointed means for the conversion 
of the world. Miracles never were intended, and never could of 
themselves produce a saving change of mind. So far from repent- 
ing, says Abraham, by a visit of one from the dead, " If they hear 
not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though 
one rose from the dead." 

Such in brief is the picture presented of the conscious existence 
of an impenitent soul beyond death. But you say, "It is a parable." 
Supposing it is. What then ? All of Christ's parables are natural, 
and based upon actual facts. Regarded thus, the parable teaches 
clearly, that God will deal with the two great classes of men in the 
world according to the portion of the parties named in the parable. 
The experiences of the rich man and Lazarus are what shall be the 
respective condition of the good and the bad. There is a dividing 
line, here and hereafter. The space between them shall remain the 
same, but the bad will go down, and the good will go up. Those 
who are happy here in the enjoyment of carnal pleasures, will be 
unhappy there. The parable, if it is only such, teaches substan- 
tially this truth, — that the wicked shall live on forever in conscious 
misery. If the unbelieving and unsaved are annihilated at or after 
death, the parable has no meaning whatever. Christ would then be 
leading his hearers to believe in a state of things after death that 
was unreal — a presumption that it is impossible for any christian 
or candid mind to entertain. 

But we object to this narrative being called a parable, in the 
ordinary sense of the word. A parable, according to the most 
approved definition, is a placing beside, or together, a comparing. 
But there is no comparison of any kind here, and to attempt to 


form comparisons, as we have seen, is unwarranted. Surely when 
the rich man says, " I am tormented," it is more than fancy ? And 
when Abraham says : " There is ^ great gulf fixed, so that they 
which would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass 
to us that would come from thence," he cannot mean that a change 
of state or annihilation of existence is possible ? If such a mode of 
interpretation is allowable, Christ's teachings are of no value what- 
ever, and the Bible utterly unworthy of belief regarding a future 
world. But if we regard it as giving us under parabolic form the 
real experience of God's poor and Satan's rich ones, here and here- 
after, the whole is consistent and harmonious. Our Lord nowhere 
describes it as a parable, but as an actual occurrence ; the punish- 
ment is more than allegory, and the parties are represented as real 
men. It would seem as if the Holy Spirit had taken these precau- 
tions to guard against the glosses and falsehoods of Annihilationism 
and Restorationism alike. 

Let us then practically regard this parable as teaching that reck- 
less licentiousness, disregard of the sufferings and wants of others, 
and disbelief in the existence of the soul after death, cannot change 
the inflexible decrees of God. Nor are we to judge of a man's con- 
dition in the future from what he suffers in the present. Poverty, 
bodily ailments and cruel treatment are frequently the heritage of 
heirs of glory. Riches, honors and sensual gratification are often 
the present possession of the ungodly and profane. " It doth not 
yet appear what we shall be." And finally, the memory of a wasted 
and unthankful life must add immeasurably to the torments of the 
lost. God's mercy cannot triumph over his justice. Praying to 
saints, either here or in hell, is of no avail — nay, not even though 
our appeals could reach the Saviour's ears. Thomas Hood, in his 
poem, " The Lady's Dream," in which she imagines herself dead, 
and reviews her unfeeling and selfish life face to face with " the 
pleading looks of those she formerly despised, puts these verses 
in her mouth : 


" No need of sulphureous lake, 

No need of fiery coal ; 
But only that crowd of human kind 

Who wanted pity and dole — 
In everlasting retrospect — 

Will wring my sinful soul ! 

I drank the richest draughts ; 

And ate whatever is good — 
Fish, and flesh, and fowl, and fruit, 

Supplied my hungry mood ; 
But I never remembered the wretched ones 

That starve for want of food ! 

I dressed as the nobles dress, 
In cloth of silver and gold ; 

With silk, and satin, and costly furs 
In many an ample fold. 

But I never remembered the naked limbs 
That froze with winter's cold. 

Alas ! I have walked through life, 
Too heedless where I trod ; 

Nay, helping to trample my fellow worm, 
And fill the burial sod ; 

Forgetting that even the sparrow falls, 
Not unmarked of God ! " 


By the Rev Wm. McLaren D. D., Professor of System.4.tic 
Theology, Knox College, Toronto. 

^ HERE are few topics of importance upon which the 

,1 Y Christian Church has spoken with greater decision than 
'I on the eternity of future punishments. In all its lead- 

ing sections, it has taught that those' dying in their 
sins shall endure unending penal sufferings, varying in de- 
gree, according to the measure of their personal ill-desert. 
In all its branches, Latin and Greek, Lutheran and Reformed, Cal- 
vinistic and Arminian, it has uttered one voice. This unanimity 
cannot be regarded as due to the unthinking reception of a dogma 
handed down from the past. The interests involved are too 
momentous, and come too closely home to every heart, to admit of 
such an explanation. It is, moreover, certain that the leading views 
now embraced by those who reject the eternity of future punish- 
ments, were presented to the Church, before the close of the third 
century, by authors of sufficient reputation to secure for their sen- 
timents careful attention. Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and a 
few others, taught the final restoration of all free agents to holiness 
and the favor of God. And Arnobius, a little later, maintained the 
annihilation of the wicked. This distinguished convert from heath- 
enism was a disciple of Lucretius, and he appears to have brought 
his master's materialistic philosophy with him into the Christian 


church. But while both these views were so early set forth with 
ability, the faith of the Church remained unchanged. 

In our own day, marked attention has been directed to the final 
destiny of the wicked. The immemorial doctrine of the Church 
has been assailed from opposite sides, by Restorationists and Anni- 
hilationists, with a vehemence of assertion which their mutually 
contradictory interpretations of scripture do not seem to abate. 
We purpose examining the views of those who hold the annihilation 
of the wicked, or, as they generally prefer to call it, the doctrine of 
Conditional Immortality. 

This doctrine assumes various phases. Some maintain that the 
souls of the wicked cease to exist at death, and that no resurrection 
awaits those who die out of Christ. This view, however, contra- 
dicts so clearly what the scriptures teach respecting the punishment 
of sin, the state of the soul after death, and the resurrection of the 
body, that the number who embrace it is comparatively small. It 
may in some respects be more consistent with the views generally 
enunciated by Annihilationists, than that which they more com- 
monly accept, but its antagonism to scripture is so obvious, that 
.ew seem prepared to avow their belief in it. The more ordinary 
form of the doctrine, to which we shall confine our attention, is that 
embraced by such writers as the Rev. Edward White, Samuel 
Minton, and Henry Constable, in England, and C. F. Hudson and 
others, in America. These writers, while differing from each other 
on minor matters, agree on maintaining the following positions, viz. : 

1st. That the death threatened to man in Eden, on account of 
sin, is the extinction of his being. When man dies he ceases to 
exist. They suppose that his entire being was naturally mortal, 
but might have become immortal by obedience, and the consequent 
participation of the tree of life. 

2nd. That the righteous are through the incarnation and the 
work of Christ, rendered immortal. Hence they speak of CONDI- 


TIONAL Immortality, by which they mean that eternal existence, 
in the case of man, is CONDITIONED on his union to Christ. All 
who reject Christ, or come short of an interest in him, are blotted 
out of existence. 

3rd. That there shall be a general resurrection and judgment of 
the whole human race, and the wicked, having been raised up, shall 
have inflicted on them such punishment as will issue in their anni- 
hilation, or in the final extinction of their being. Some suppose 
that this issue will likely occur immediately after the general 
judgment, and others that it will be reached only after a period of 
sufferings, protracted, it may be, for " ages of ages." 

The importance of this discuesion is apparent at' the first glance, 
and a careful study of the relation which one part of the system 
of truth sustains to another, deepens our sense of its vital 
nature. Edward White repudiates the notion that the agita- 
tion, which he is aiding, deals merely with the "simple question of 
the retribution of sin." " It is a movement," he says, " for the re- 
construction of anthropology and theology from one end to the 
other." — Vide Report of Conference, page 31. 

In this discussion we shall appeal, not to philosophy, but to 
Divine Revelation. There can be no doubt, however, that the 
doctrine of "Conditional Immortality" is linked so closely in the 
minds ot its advocates, with a peculiar philosophy of human nature, 
that they seem unable to read the Scriptures, save through the 
glass which their philosophy supplies. 

There are two views of human nature, radically distinct, on 
which the Scriptures cast some light, and which cannot but influ- 
ence the manner in which we regard the points raised in this 

The common view of mankind, and of the Christian church, is 
that two distinct substances, mind and matter, or soul and body, 
are united in man. And while the personality resides in the higher 


nature, which we speak of as the soul or spirit, the properties of 
each nature are predicated of the person, so that we recognize 
them as pecuHarly our own. If this view of the nature of man is 
correct, physical death may be nothing but the result of the separa- 
tion of soul and body. And the dissolution of the body, consequent 
upon this separation, supplies no presumption that the soul, which 
consciousness reveals as one and indivisible, is subject either to 
decay or dissolution. 

The second view is that presented by Materialism, which ignores 
or denies the distinction between mind and matter. This philos- 
ophy regards the soul as a function of the body, and views thought 
as the product of highly organized matter. Those who embrace 
this system necessarily believe that when the body is dissolved by 
death, the soul ceases to exist. The elements, which combined 
make up the organism called man, are at death separated, and enter 
into new combinations, and go to make up other organisms. 

Adam was as much non-existent after his death as before his 
creation. The elements out of which he was formed alone remained. 
White and Hudson avoid committing themselves definitely to 
Materialism, but the drift of their statements and reasonings is un- 
mistakeable. Hudson speaks of "the prevalence of a materialistic 
philosophy which has frequently attended the doctrine which we 
maintain," and he states it as his opinion, " that speculative Mater- 
ialism is not to be for itself condemned." — Debt and Grace, pages 
243, 246. But this Materialistic view of man's nature, even where 
it is not openly avowed, underlies the doctrine of " Conditional 
Immortality," and rules the interpretations of Scripture given by 
its advocates. 

In this paper, passing over matters of subsidiary importance, 
I shall confine attention to one or two central points, on which the 
whole discussion chiefly turns. The controversy hinges largely 
upon the meaning which the advocates of Conditional Immortality 


attach to DEATH, as threatened in Eden, and spoken of in scripture 
generally as the penalty of sin. " In the day thou eatest thereof 
thou shalt surely die," — Genesis ii. 17. Rev. Samuel Minton, who 
speaks with some degree of authority for Annihilationists, says : 
" Most of us would be willing to stake our whole case on the natural 
and prima facie meanings of the words Life and Death, Immortality 
and Destruction. These and their cognates are the key words of 
the controversy." — Report of Conference, page 14. We have no 
objection to the issue thus raised, provided all the evidence bearing 
upon it is fairly examined, and the confident assertions of Annihi- 
lationists are not substituted for proofs. According to the common 
judgment of Christendom, the THREATENING included death tem- 
poral, spiritual and eternal, or to state the matter in another way, 
death is penal evil inflicted, according to the righteous measure of 
the Great Judge, upon man's complex nature. According to Anni- 
hilationists, man who came from the dust returns, at death, to dust. 
He is resolved, as one of their writers has it, " into his elemental 
atoms." Minton assures us that " Adam must have understood the 
death penalty to mean the entire deprivation of being." — Report of 
Conference, page 12. Another writes, "The first man is out of ihe 
earth, and the final destiny of man, as a man and a sinner, is to 
return unto the earth, and to become as though he had not been." 
— Quest, of Ages, page 135. White intimates that Adam learned 
the meaning of the threatening from his observation of death among 
the lower animals, and he informs us that at death " the animals, as 
individual beings, utterly and wholly cease to be." — Life in Christ, 
page 23. 

The question which we have to decide is whether, when the 
Scriptures speak of death as the penalty of sin, or when they use 
the word in its ordinary and primary sense in reference to man, 
they mean "his entire deprivation of being" ; — whether, when they 

speak of him as dead, they mean that he "has utterly and wholly 


ceased to be". How then shall we determine the meaning of the 
threatening in Genesis ii. 17? The natural way would seem to be 
to examine the record in which the threatening occurs, and to ascer- 
tain what light is thus thrown upon it ; and then seek to discover 
the manner in which the Scriptures elsewhere employ the wc^rd 
DEATH, and its correlative LIFE. This course does not seem to 
commend itself to the advocates of Conditional Immortality. 

They suggest various ways of determining the force of the 
threatening, which labor under the serious infirmity of assuming 
as certain what requires to be proved, and what sometimes, more- 
over, admits of no proof. 

White assures us, and Constable agrees with him, that Adam 
must have understood the word Death, as he was accustomed to 
employ it, " in his short use of language in relation to the animal 
system around him " — page 112. In other words, he must have 
understood death to be the same to a rational and moral being that 
it is to irrational creatures. And as White affirms that at death 
animals " as individual beings, utterly and wholly cease to be," — 
page 23 — death to man must be the extinction of his being. This 
reasoning implies : ist. That Adam, before he received this threat- 
ening, had witnessed death among the lower animals, which is quite 
uncertain. 2nd. That what he knew of the import of the threaten- 
ing was gathered from the words recorded in Genesis, and from 
what he had observed in the animal system around him, which is 
also quite uncertain ; and 3rd, That Adam knew that death is the 
termination of existence to the lower animals. If he knew this, he 
had learned what Bishop Butler, long after, had not discovered. 
That profound thinker, in his Analogy, writes : " Nor can we find 
any thing throughout the whole analogy of Nature to afford us even 
the slightest presumption that animals ever lose their living powers, 
much less, if it were possible, that they lose them by death, for we 
have MO faculties wherewith to trace any beyond, or through it, so 


as to see what becomes of them." — Page 17. If Adam knew that 
the lower animals cease to exist at death, he knew what no process 
of observation could teach him, and which we ourselves do not know, 
unless it be through revelation made long subsequent to the time 
of Adam. And if he had a revelation, of which there is no record, 
to teach him that the beasts cease to exist at death, may he not 
have had a revelation of an opposite kind in reference to himself 
and his posterity ? If he was informed that the spirit of the beast 
goeth downward, may he not at the same time have been taught 
that the spirit of man goeth upward ? Ecclesiastes iii., 21. 

So far as observation goes, what takes place, when a good man 
and when a beast dies, is the same. All signs of life and activity 
disappear, and physical decay sets in. If this proves that the brutes 
cease to exist, it proves the same in reference to good men ; yet 
Annihilationists, like White and Hudson, maintain that good men, 
in virtue of their union to Christ, do not entirely cease to be at 
death. And if it must be admitted that what is observed proves 
nothing in regard to the continued existence, or non-existence of 
men or of beasts, it is only candid to say so. We are reminded, 
however, that there are reasons why death does not end the being 
of those who are in Christ, which do not apply to the lower animals. 
We reply (i), that these reasons could not be learned from obser- 
vation of what transpires in the animal system around us, and (2), 
that there are reasons in the very constitution of man as a moral, 
intelligent and responsible free agent, which bespeak for the race 
an endless existence, reasons which cannot be supposed in the 
case of the lower animals. 

This mode of determining the meaning of the threatening 
ignores the important distinction between man and the lower ani- 
mals recognized in the record of creation, and assumes that Adam 
learned from observation what no observation could teach. 


But White and Constable support their views of the threatening 
b}- an assumption, which they probably mistake for reasoning, viz : 
that Adam must have understood the threatening to mean the 
extinction of his being for ever, or death in its primary meaning, as 
he had learned it from the animal sj-stem around him, otherwise it 
would have been unjust in God to inflict the penalty. This is 
begging the question, and something worse. What requires to be 
proved is, that death in the primary and ordinary sense of the word 
is the cessation of existence. This we have seen could not have 
been learned from observation. And if a revelation was necessary 
to make Adam know that the penalty threatened is " the entire 
deprivation of being," what but a tacit assumption of what requires 
to be proved, prevents these writers from perceiving that the same 
method of instruction was equally suited to inform him that death 
is to be understood in the pregnant sense, required in many parts 
of Scripture, and even by the narrative in Genesis. 

But we deny absolutsly that a penalty must be known, or under- 
stood, before it can be justly inflicted. The justice of the punish- 
ment depends on the law being known, and on the penalty being 
proportioned to the offen :, but not on the penalty being known. 
Constable, replying to Professor Bartlett on this point, says : " If 
this Professor of Theolog_/ had consulted a Professor of Jurispru- 
dence, he would have been informed, that when a man is incapable 
of knowing the nature of a penalty, he cannot be subjected to it." 
— Nat. and Dur. of Future Punishment, page 30. This is an artful 
representation, by which one thing is adroitly substituted for ano- 
ther, in a way not very worthy of an honest man. Human law 
views a man, who from mental imbecility or disease, is incapable of 
understanding the law or its penalty, as not responsible for his 
actions. But this has nothing to do with the case on hand, where 
the law was known and understood, and only the penalty is sup- 
posed to have been not fully comprehended. 


According to the teaching of White and Constable, where God 
forbids a sin, and does not publish a penalty, no penalty can be 
inflicted. Were this precious morality accepted, the members of a 
community, which had the Decalogue revealed from Heaven as 
their moral code, might deem themselves licensed, so far as exemp- 
tion from penalty could license them, to murder, steal, and commit 
adultery, because the precepts forbidding these sins have no penal- 
ties attached to them. White tells us that even the " Chinese gov- 
ernment considers itself obliged to read to the people periodically 
the Criminal Code." — Page 113. If so, it may be assumed that it 
has wisdom to do it, to make them familiar with the law, rather 
than merely to acquaint them with the penalty. We think it is 
manifest that neither of these modes of determining the meaning of 
the threatening given in Eden can satisfy any thoughtful and un- 
biased mind. 

We shall now advance a step, and give some reasons why we 
cannot accept the view of death on which the doctrine of Condi- 
tional Immortality is based. We reject the doctrine. 

I. Because it is based on an unfounded assumption, viz : that 
the primary and ordinary meaning of death is the cessation of exist- 
ence, or the extinction of being. This notion pervades the reason- 
ings of Annihilationists, and it is essential to the theory that this 
should be recognized as the primary meaning of the word. For 
only in this way can they hope to fasten such a meaning on death, 
as the threatened penalty of sin. We venture, however, to assert 
that it is a pure assumption, in support of which not one relevant 
fact can be adduced, and in opposition to which almost number- 
less facts array themselves. 

Constable, with his usual boldness, claims the testimony of the 
dictionaries of all languages to the assertion. '" that the primary and 
ordinary meaning of death is the extinction of being." Rewrites : 
" Every dictionary of every language of the earth is our witness of 


this." — Page 75. It is difficult to imagine a statement more un- 
founded, made by an intelligent man, who considers himself under 
obligations to speak the truth. 

The word " death " has, no doubt, a primary, and various sec- 
ondary meanings, but it is not true that, in any language with which 
we are acquainted, or in any respectable dictionary,, its primary 
meaning is the extinction of being, or that the word primarily im- 
plies that the being who has died has " utterly and wholly ceased 
to be." It is a word which points primarily to certain familiar phy- 
sical phenomena, which occur once in the history of every man, but 
it gives no explanation of the causes or results of these phenom- 
ena. The Imperial dictionary gives as the meaning of the word 
death : " The state of a being, animal or vegetable, but more 
particularly of an animal, in which there is a total and permanent 
cessation of all the vital functions, when the organs have not only 
ceased to act, but have lost the susceptibility of renewed action." 
In this definition, there is nothing inconsistent with the continued 
existence of the soul after death. Of course, if Materialism is true, 
the cessation of these vital functions in the disorganised material 
mechanism, carries with it the extinction of mental and spiritual 
action, and of the soul itself, which is merely a function of the body. 
The entire man is resolved into his " elemental atoms," and ceases 
to be. But this conclusion is not reached from the primary force 
of the word DEATH, but from the teachings of a base philosophy. 
And even if Materialism were proved true, it would not follow that 
mankind, in speaking of an occurrence so familiar as death, has any 
thought of pronouncing it true. Sunrise and sunset are due to 
the revolution of the earth on its axis, but neither the learned nor 
the unlearned, in using these words, ever dream that they are 
enunciating that truth. Bishop Butler has well remarked : " We 
do not know at all what death is in itself, but only some of its 
effects, such as the dissolution of the flesh, skin and bones. And 


these effects do in no wise appear to imply the destruction of a 
living agent." — Analogy, page 16. If our vital functions are due 
to the union of the soul and body, then their total and permanent 
cessation in the body, which is the thing observed in death, may be 
due to the termination of that union, and does not imply the ex- 
tinction of the soul, or that it has ceased to be active or conscious. 
It is only when the teaching of a Materialistic philosophy is 
adroitly transfused into the word DEATH, that it can be m.ade to 
speak the language of Annihilationism. 

If Constable's reckless assertions were true, whenever a man 
says a neighbor has died, he intends to affirm that he has " utterly 
and wholly ceased to be." The prevalence, well nigh universal, of 
a belief in the immortality of the soul, is a sufficient refutation of 
this preposterous assertion. The truth is that neither Materialists 
nor Annihilationists have ever been sufficiently numerous to mould 
the language of any people. Neither Hebrews, Greeks nor Romans, 
when they spoke of the death of their friends, in the ordinary and 
primary sense of that word, ever dreamed of asserting that the de- 
parted had ceased to be ; and with the exception of a few who had 
become corrupted by a Materialistic philosophy, they did not be- 
lieve it. It is notorious that the Jews, in the time of our Lord, with 
the exception of the Sadducees, who never were a numerous class, 
believed in the immortality of the soul. Of this the New Testa- 
ment and Josephus supply ample evidence. And if we can trust 
poets, philosophers and historians, it is no less certain that the mass 
of the Greeks and Romans did the same. Their superstitions make 
this belief palpable. Their Gods were nearly all departed heroes. 
Tartarus and the underworld were peopled with those who had laid 
aside the body in death. Necromancy, which prevailed exten- 
sively, is a recognition of the survival of souls separated from the 
body. And if the popular religion provided for the departed a 
ferryman at the river, and judges for the nether world, it surely is 


sufficient evidence that when they spoke of death in its primary 
sense, they did not intend to affirm that the dead had " utterly and 
wholly ceased to be." 

Another pohit requires to be noticed in connection with this 
word. What Annihilationists assert is the primary meaning of 
death is a purely SECONDARY MEANING, of which there are oc- 
casional examples in classic, and even in theological Greek. But it 
is only the perverting influence of a Materialistic philosophy, which 
in view ot the facts we have adduced, could ever lead any 
one to mistake it for the primary sense of the word. Like nearly 
all our terms, which represent abstract ideas, the word DEATH 
passes from what falls under the senses to what, in a higher depart- 
ment, is supposed to be analogous. Between those familiar sensible 
phenomena, which the word primarily represents, analogies are 
easily traced in a higher region, out of which spring secondary 
meanings of the word death. To illustrate ; When a living 
creature dies, the body is dissolved into its elements. Following 
this analogy, a writer may affirm or deny the death of the soul, 
when he wishes to assert or repudiate the. notion of its continued 
existence. In the one case, he designs to affirm that the soul can- 
not or will not be resolved into simpler elements, and thus pass 
away ; while in the other he makes the opposite assertion. But 
this is a purely secondary meaning of the word, which became neces- 
sary, when men began to indulge in abstract speculations. Again, 
when a living creature dies, physical decay sets in, and putre- 
faction, with all its loathsome accompaniments, follows. Pursuing 
this analogy, death when applied to the soul, represents the decay of 
moral principle or character, and all the loathsomeness of a depraved 
heart and life ; in one word, moral and spiritual death. But this 
is not more certainl}^ a secondary meaning ol the word death than 
tlie other. 


But we might very well object to have the biblical sense of the 
word death determined by an appeal to its usage in heathen 
writers, or indeed in extra scriptural writersof any kind. The 
only safe way to reach the meaning of the word in the Bible, is to 
examine carefully the passages in which it occurs. Supernatural 
revelation had to engraft an entirely new circle of ideas upon 
languages which had been before employed merely as the vehicle 
of heathen thought. It was therefore often compelled, as the con- 
text shows, to use words in a much higher sense than that in which 
they were employed among the heathen. To insist that the usage 
of classic Greek is to rule the interpretation of the New Testament 
is really to keep Christianity down to the dead level of heathen 
ideas. What, we may say, was Paul's entire speech on Mars' Hill, 
but an attempt to engraft on '>he word GOD a circle of ideas, as 
much higher than that which the Athenians connected with it, as 
the God of the Bible is higher and purer than those monsters of 
vice, whom the heathen often honored as their Deities ? 

II. We cannot regard the death threatened as equivalent to the 
cessation of being, because that view does not agree with the inti- 
mations of the record in Genesis, respecting the nature of man and 
the execution of the penalty. There are four things in the record 
which we require to observe : 

1st. That the creation of man is introduced wifh much greater 
solemnity than that of the lower animals. His creation is not re- 
ferred to merely as that of a member of the animal kingdom, with 
powers and capacities somewhat higher than those of his fellows, but 
as that of a being largely SUI GENERIS, an animal uo doubt, but one 
quite unique in his nature. When the lower animals are introduced, 
God said, " Let the waters bring forth abundantly, the moving 
creature that hath life," or " Let the earth bring forth the living 
creature after his kind." — Genesis i. 20 and 24. The language looks 
as if their origin were wholly earthly, but when we come to the crea- 


tion of man, the Godhead is represented as taking counsel. "And 
God said, let us make man," &c. This is language, surely, which 
might prepare us to look for a being of a very different nature from 
the other denizens of earth. This expectation is fulfilled ; for the 
record next asserts, — 

2nd. That man was created in the image of God. We are often 
reminded, by those who regard man as entirely of earthly origin, 
that in Genesis ii. 7, God is said to have formed man out of the 
dust of the ground ; but it should not be forgotten that there are 
two accounts of man's creation given in Genesis i. 26, 27, and ii. 7 
— the later supplying some details omitted by the earlier — but what 
is stated first, as announcing that which is most distinctive of man, 
and that in reference to which the Godhead takes counsel, is that 
man was made in the image of God. In what, then, does the image 
of God consist ? The scriptures warrant us in answering, that it 
consists in two things, distinct, yet related, (i) A likeness of nature 
to God, which was not lost by the fall — Genesis ix. 9, James iii. 9, 
and 1st Cor. xi, 7. And (2) a likeness in moral character to God, 
which was lost by sin, and may be restored by grace. Paul tells us 
to "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteous- 
ness and true holiness," — Ephesians iv. 24. And again he describes 
Christians as those who "have put on the new man, which is re- 
newed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him," — 
Col. iii. 10, and 2nd Cor. iii. 18. These passages teach, (i), That 
the new man, which we put on, when we become living followers of 
Christ, is the re-establishment of the divine image, in which man 
was originally created. (2) That the distinguishing features of that 
image are knowledge, righteousness and holiness, or moral excel- 
cellence viewed from its intellectual and ethical sides. (3). That 
these features of the Divine image were created in man. If we 
ask ourselves, in what do such qualities as knowledge, righteousness 
and holiness inhere ? The answer must be, in man's spiritual na- 


ture. or in that element of the Divine image which sin has not 

God is a spirit, and when He made man in His image, He made 
him a spirit. It is from CONSCIOUSNESS we get the idea of spirit 
as something distinct from matter. Through the senses, we come 
to the knowledge of matter, as found in the body and in the exter- 
nal world. It is recognized as that which has certain properties, 
such as extension, weight, color and divisibility. By consciousness 
I become acquainted with something which I call myself, or my 
soul, which thinks, feels, wills, makes moral discriminations, and is 
one and indivisible. None of the known properties of matter can 
be ascribed to the soul or self, as made known by consciousness. 
And none of the known properties of the soul can be predicated of 
matter. We thus reach a knowledge of soul or spirit as essentially 
distinct from matter. When everything which discovers to us the 
existence of soul and of matter, reveals them as distinct, it would sure- 
ly be gratuitous folly to attempt to identify them with each other. 
But while we can predicate none of the properties of the self or 
soul of matter, we are constrained both by reason and revelation 
to ascribe to God, in infinite measure, all the distinguishing proper- 
ties of the soul, and to deny to him all the properties of matter. To 
Him we ascribe personality, feeling, intelligence, will, moral charac- 
ter, and indivisible unity — the very characteristics of the human 
soul revealed by consciousness. And when we affirm that human 
soul is spirit, and that God is a spirit, we only employ a verbal sym- 
bol to express what we had before discovered is common to man 
and to his Creator. If we had not discovered through conscious- 
ness what spirit is, the assertion, that God is a spirit, would mean 
as little to us as a description of colors to a man born blind, or of 
sound to a man who has been always deaf. Language cannot con- 
vey simple ideas which are not already in the mind. A belief, there- 
fore, in the spirituality of the human soul, and in the spirituality of 
God, logically stand or fall together. 


But it may be asked, what is the connection between the spirit- 
uahty of the soul and its survival after death ? The attitude of 
both friends and foes is good evidence that the connection is real. 
Nor is the reason far to seek. Were the soul material, or the result 
of highly organized matter, we would naturally expect that when 
the body returned to dust, the soul would vanish and become as 
though it had not been. But if the soul is spirit, a substance which 
is essentially diverse from matter, if it is not liable to decay or dis- 
solution, and if consciousness reveals it as one and indivisible, then 
the changes which dissolve the body into its elements, cannot affect 
the soul. No doubt God can blot the soul of man out of existence, 
although the fact that He made it in His image may be regarded 
as an intimation of an opposite intention, but we cannot suppose 
even the Almighty to divide it, or to resolve it, into simpler ele- 
ments. In the very structure of the soul, therefore, which was 
made in the image of God, ' we discern the fore-gleams of 

3rd. The record of man's creation indicates very clearly the 
DUALITY of his nature. " And the Lord God formed man out of 
the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of 
life ; and man became a living soul." — Genesis ii. 7. 

The force of the argument here does not depend on the state- 
ment that man became a living soul — NEPliESH hayah — terms 
which are expressly applied to the lower animals, but rather upon 
the indication which we have here of a twofold nature in man, one 
part drawn from the dust, and the other the product of the in- 
breathing of the Almighty. The place which man is here recog- 
nized as holding in the animal kingdom, is due to the union of soul 
and body. Bring together all the elements of man's nature which 
are drawn from the ground, and arrange them in the exact order 
in which they are found in living men, and let the Spirit be a want- 
ing, and •"in i*; not NEPHESll HAVAH, a living soul, or animal ; he 


IS a carcase or corpse. But add to what comes from the dust what 
is due to the inbreathing of God, and he becomes a hving soul, a 
creature having Hfe, and takes his place in the animal kingdom. 
No fair handling of the record can keep out of view the indications 
which it gives of a twofold nature in man It distinguishes between 
the vital principle, or soul, and the material organism, and points 
to the former as more directly from God, and " akin to Him than 
the latter." And the inference deduced from the marks of dualism 
apparent on the record of man's creation, becomes more powerful 
when the record is read in the light of the inspired comment, given 
in Ecclesiastes xii. 7, " Then shall the dust return to the earth, as 
it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it ;" and still 
more clear, as practically interpreted by the prayer of the dying 
Stephen, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." — Acts vii. 59. 

4th. But the record in Genesis gives not only indications of the 
nature of man, but also of the execution of the curse threatened ; 
from which it appears that the penalty fell more directly on the soul. 
Disobedience was to be followed by immediate punishment : " In 
the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." The narrative 
shows that the first fruit of sin was reaped in the souls of our first 
parents. The sense of shame, the dread of God's displeasure, and 
a consciousness of a baleful change in their relations to God, are 
the things which are first experienced by the transgressors. It is 
not the extinction of being, but of conscious well being, which ap- 
pears. Is this no intimation to us of the real meaning of the 
threatening? We are informed by Annihilationists that but for 
the intervention of Christ, the cessation of being would have followed 
man's sin instantly. This, however, is a pure assumption, to which 
the Scriptures give no countenance. It is never safe to regulate 
our views of Scripture by unproved assumptions. What we here 
observe is penal evils, which are spoken ol elsewhere in Scripture 
as death, coming upon our first parents as soon as they sinned, 


and these we regard as included in the threatening. This is God's 
interpretation of his own words. 

III. We cannot accept the Annihilationist view of death, because 
the scriptures show that the soul of man retains a conscious exist- 
ence after death. 

Those who embrace the doctrine of Conditional Immortality 
with which we are dealing, while insisting that death means prim- 
arily the extinction of being, admit that as a result of the interven- 
tion of Christ, men do not cease to be until afier the general 
judgment. White says, " The Hades state is for good and bad, 
one of the miraculous results of a new probation." — Page 106. 
But writers of this class uniformly deny, and in order to give their 
admission a semblance of consistency with their view of death, it 
is necessai;>y that they should deny to man a conscious existence 
between death and the resurrection. We cannot regard the con- 
sistency as real They appear, however, to think that if they assign 
to man a condition so near to non-existence, that it may be mistaken 
for it, it will be forgotten that they have defined death to be " the 
entire deprivation of being." Do the scriptures, then, warrant us 
in ascribing to man, between death and the resurrection, an uncon- 
scious state ? Turn to that evangelical narrative in Luke xvi, 
19-31, which Annihilationists always speak of as a parable. Its 
doctrinal value will, however, in no way be lessened, if we view it 
as a parable ; for a parable always presents a case which might 
have happened. You will observe that the passage asserts three 
things, viz. : (i.) That Lazarus and the rich man died. What the 
scriptures recognize as death in its primary and obvious sense, befel 
both of them. (2.) Both passed, at once, into a state of conscious 
existence, the one comforted in Abraham's bosom, and the other 
lifting up his eyes in Hades, being in torments. (3.) That this was 
their condition during: the lifetime of the five brethren of the rich 


man, whose advent he dreaded, or in other words, during the very 
period elapsing between his death and the resurrection. 

This one passage subverts the entire scheme of Annihilationists. 
But it does not stand alone. The dying malefactor was comforted 
with the assurance that he should be that day with Christ in para- 
dise. — Luke xxiii. 43, Paul expected, when his earthly taber- 
nacle was dissolved, to be received, in his abiding personality, into 
an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, and when he 
was absent from the body to be present with the Lord. — 2nd Cor- 
inthians V. 1-8. We learn, also, that the Apostle of the Gentiles 
deemed it far better to depart, and be with Christ, then to remain 
in the flesh. To him death was gain, not a state of unconsciousness. 
Moses, who had been many centuries dead, appeared in glory along 
with Elias, and talked with Christ concerning the decease which he 
was to accomplish at Jerusalem. — Luke ix. 30, 31. This certainly 
is something very unlike slumbering on in unconsciousness until 
the resurrection. 

The Sadducean doctrine was based on the same materialistic 
philosophy which we have seen underlies the theory of Conditional 
Immortality. And Christ in refuting the denial of the resurrection 
by the former, refutes also the denial of consciousness to those who 
have died, as held by the latter. Our Lord met the cavils of the 
Sadducees by showing that the words addressed to Moses at the 
bush, " I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God 
of Jacob," implied that these patriarchs were still living, and in cov- 
enant relations with God. What Annihilationists inform us is a 
state of entire unconsciousness, He pronounces to be a state of life. 
" For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living ; for all live unto 
Him." — Luke xx. 38. The testimony of Christ, therefore, is explicit 
that death, in the ordinary sense of that word, does not exclude the 
continued life of the soul apart from the body. 


TV. We reject the Annihilationist view of the threatening in 
Eden, because it is not in harmony with the New Testament usage 
of the words LIFE and DEATH, particularly when they are associa- 
ted with the mission of Christ. He is represented as coming to 
deliver us from death, and to impart to us life ; and it will not be 
questioned that the death from which He frees us is the curse en- 
tailed by sin, and the life He bestows is the opposite. That life, 
in the New Testament, is used to signify not merely conscious ex- 
istence, but man's NORMAL EXISTENCE, a blessed life in fellow.ship 
with God, where all the fruits of His favor are enjoyed, is, we think, 
undeniable. Death, on the other hand, frequently stands for the 

subject to all the penal evils which follow such an existence in this 
world and in the world to come. 

When Christ says, " Let the dead bury their dead." Matt. viii. 22 
it needs surely no proof that the dead who were capable of burying 
their dead, were not persons who had either laid aside the body, or 
who had ceased to be, but men who by reason of their abnormal 
state of alienation from God, were viewed as spiritually dead. It 
is equally apparent that it is in the same sense the word is applied 
to the church in Sardis, which had a name to live, and was dead, — 
Revelations iii. i. John affirms, "he that loveth not his brother 
abideth in death," but he does not mean to say either that his 
earthly career was over, or that he had ceased to exist. The Apostle 
Paul expressly declares that " to be carnally minded is death," — 
Romans viii. 6 — and the reason which he gives for the assertion is 
not that it leads on, at some future time, to " the entire deprivation 
of being," but that it involves alienation of heart and life from God ; 
for in the next verse he adds, " Because the carnal mind is enmity 
against God ; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed 
can be." This is what Paul regards as death. He even predicates 
death and life of the same person, at the same time, — " she that 


liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth," — ist Tim. 5, 6. That 
life is spoken of as imparted, in a sense exactly corresponding, is 
sufficiently evident from the statement, " To be spiritually minded 
is life and peace," — Romans viii. 6 ; or from the declaration, " You 
hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins," — 
Ephesians ii. i. 

It is important to observe that in many of the passages in the 
New Testament, where LIFE denotes a normal state of being in the 
fellowship, likeness, and enjoyment of God, it is directly associated 
with the mission of Christ, and the imparting of life, in this high 
sense, is set forth as the special object of His work. A few illus- 
trations must suffice.- John xvii. 23 : " As Thou hast given Him 
power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as 
Thou has given Him. And this is life eternal that they might know 
Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent." 
Observe here (i) That the end for which Christ was granted all 
power was that He might give eternal life to as many as were given 
Him. This life must be the opposite of the death which was intro- 
duced by sin. For Christ " came to destroy the works of th2 
devil." — 1st John iii. 8, and ist John iv. 9, (2) That this life, in 
what Christ regards as its most essential aspect, is to know the 
only true God, and His Son, Jesus Christ. The life which our 
Redeemer came to impart, as defined by Himself, is not mere con- 
scious being, but a normal state of being in communion with God, 
whose real glory is spiritually apprehended. It is to know God, 
and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

John iii. 36 : " He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting 
life ; he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath 
of God abideth on him." Observe here, (i) everlasting life is the 
present possession of the believer. He hath it. The present tense 
is used. It is not something bestowed merely at the resurrection. 
(2) The unbeliever shall not see life. If life here means a normal 
existence in the fellowship and enjoyment of God, the statement is 


intelligible, but if it means mere existence, or conscious being, the 
assertion palpably contradicts fiicts. It may be imagined that, at 
some future period, the unbeliever shall cease to be, but that he 
now exists is as certain as any fact to which our senses bear wit- 
ness. (3) But the nature of the death in which the unbeliever 
abides, and out of which he shall not pass, is explained by the last 
clause of the verse, " But the wrath of God abideth on him. " He 
is in other words, subject to such penal evil as the divine displeas- 
ure may inflict. The death which is here implied is not the extinc- 
tion of being, but an abnormal state of being, where man, estranged 
from God, abides under his frown. According to the Annihila- 
tionist interpretation of the various clauses of this verse, the whole 
may be fairly paraphrased, as follows : He that believeth on the 
Son hath everlasting conscious existence, he that believeth not the 
Son shall not see conscious existence, but the wrath of God abideth 
on that which has " utterly and wholly ceased to be "!!! A theory 
which reduces such a text to nonsense is not of God. 

The usage of the words life and death, to which we have ad- 
verted, pervades the New Testament, vide John v. 24 ; John vi. 
47-51 ; Rom. vii. 9-13 ; Rom. vii. 24-15 ; Rom. viii. 6 ; Eph. ii. 1-6 ; 
Eph. iv. 18-19 ; Col. ii. 12-13 ; ist John iii. 14. 

V. We cannot accept the Annihilationists' view of the death 
threatened in Eden, because they do not themselves adhere to it, 
and cannot adhere to it, without coming into direct conflict with 
what they acknowledge to be the teaching of Scripture. 

Those who embrace the phase of the doctrine of Conditional 
Immortality with which we are dealing, maintain (i) that the death 
threatened in Eden, and death in the primary and obvious sense of 
the word, are one and the same ; and both imply the extinction of 
being. Those who have died have " utterly and wholly ceased to 
be. " (2) That there shall be a resurrection of the entire race, and 
a general Judgment, where the wicked shall have such punish- 
ment inflicted on them, as will issue in their final annihilation. 


It must be evident to any one who reflects that these positions 
are mutually destructive. We turn to Gen. v. 5, and we read, "And 
all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years : 
and he died. " This is certainly death in its plain and obvious, in 
its primary sense. Then, of course, according to Mr. White, he 
" utterly and wholly ceased to be." He was, as another writer has 
it, resolved into his " elemental atoms." These existed before he 
was created, and they exist after he is dead, but, if death is the 
cessation of being, in no other sense did Adam exist after he died, 
than he existed before his creation. And, as " it has been appointed 
unto men once to die," it follows that all who have passed away 
from this earthly scene, have ceased to be : " they have returned to 
the earth, and have become as though they had not been." 

But what has ceased to be cannot be raised up again. The 
rain drops of this year are not a resurrection of the rain drops of 
last year. The sounds which issue from the tolling bell to-day are 
no resurrection of the tones which came from it yesterday. A res- 
urrection implies continuity of being. If Adam ceased to be, when 
he died, he cannot be raised up again. Another man may be cre- 
ated in his likeness, but the original Adam is gone for ever. When 
a great teacher, to whom Annihilationists pay some respect, would 
establish the resurrection of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and of the 
dead generally, he did so by proving that these patriarchs continu- 
ed to live long after they were, in the primary sense of the word, 
dead. Math. xxii. 23-32. He knew that a creation is one thing, 
and a resurrection another. 

But when we press Annihilationists with the consideration that, 
if death is the extinction of being, a resurrection is impossible, they 
meet us with the statement that, owing to the remedial system in- 
troduced by Christ, none of the human race will be annihilated, 
until after the General Judgment. White says " Hence there will 
be a resurrection of the unjust to give an account of the deeds done 
in the body ; and in order to permit of the reconstitution of the 


identical transgressor, we hold that his spirit is preserved in its 
individuality from dissipation in the death of the man, to be con- 
joined again to the body at the day of Judgment." Life in Christ 
P. 130. Hudson informs us that " the soul is an entity not de- 
stroyed by the death ot the body, however dependent it may be 
on embodiment for the purposes of active existence." Debt and 
Grace. P. 261. 

This no doubt secures continuity of being, and renders a resur- 
rection possible. But what becomes of death as the cessation of 
existence ? What has befallen the primary meaning of death, the 
plain and obvious meaning, the meaning to which all dictionaries 
of all the languages in the world bear witness ? What has become 
of that meaning which Adam gathered from observation of the 
animal system around him ? It has surely been resolved into its 
elemental atoms, and has "become as though it had not been" !! 
The possibility of a resurrection is preserved, but it is by renounc- 
ing what we have been told, with wearisomereiteration, is the plain 
and obvious meaning of death, as the extinction of being. 

It turns out that, although the Bible says Adam died, he is not 
dead. Abraham did not die. The rich man did not die, before he 
lifted up his eyes in Hades, being in torments. Lazarus did not 
die, before angels carried him to Abraham's bosom. And Jesus 
Christ did not die on Calvary. For not one of these, " utterly and 
wholly ceased to be." 

Nay, we must go farther : we are forced to accept two remark- 
able generalizations, viz., (i) that from the beginning of the world 
down to our own day, not one human being has died, in the plain 
and obvious, in the primary sense of the word, and not one human 
being shall die, until after the General Judgment, and (2) that 
while the Bible speaks familiarly, on almost every page, of death, 
in what mankind regard as its ordinary and primary meaning, in 
no single instance, when speaking of man, does it use the word, 
Annihilationists themselves being witness, in the sense which the> 


assign to it in the threatening in Eden !! We are asked to believe 
that what the Bible everywhere calls death is in reality not death, 
in its plain and obvious meaning ; and this too by men who insist 
that we must always follow the simple and primary meaning of the 
word ! 

The doctrine of Conditional Immortality is an attempt to unite 
incompatible elements, and the result is that the theory will har- 
monize neither with the Scriptures, nor with itself If the annihil- 
ationist retains . his definition of death, he must abandon, like the 
ancient Sadducees, the hope of a resurrection. And, if he retains 
the Christian hope of a resurrection, he must forsake his Sadducean 
view of death, as the cessation of being. The doctrine is self de- 
structive. For, if the dead have ceased to be, they cannot be raised 
up, and if they have not ceased to be, then, according to Annihila- 
tionists, they are not dead. 

The time which we may occupy with one lecture, will not per- 
mit us to touch on many points raised in connection with the dis- 
cussion of Conditional Immortality. Nor can I suppose it necessary. 
Those who have followed the discussion, must ha\e seen that the 
points we have handled are so central that the whole question 
turns upon them ; and that if the positions we have taken have been 
sustained, the doctrine of Conditional Immortality cannot be re- 
garded as either true, or Scriptural. Our discussion has turned on 
the question whether death, as threatened in Eden, and spoken of 
throughout the Scriptures as the penalty of sin, is the extinction 
of being. After testing the methods by which it has been attempt- 
ed to fasten this sense upon the threatening, and discovering their 
fallacious character, we have seen good cause to reject the annihil- 
ationist view of death, (a) Because it is based on an unfounded 
assumption, viz., that the primary and obvious sense of death is the 
cessation of existence. We have seen that this notion of death is 
not due to the primary force of the word, but to a materialistic 
philosophy, and that neither Hebrews, Greeks nor Romans, when 


they spoke of those who had died, ever dreamed of asserting that 
they had ceased to be. (b) We have seen reason to reject this 
view of death, because it does not agree with the intimations in 
the record of the creation and fall, respecting the nature of man 
and the execution of the penalty. We have seen that when God 
made man, the record shows that he made him in his image : he 
gave him a spiritual nature like his own, a nature beyond the reach 
of the causes which produce decay and dissolution in the body, and 
fitted from its very character for an endless existence. The record 
also shows that man's being was twofold, the lower portion drawn 
from the dust, and the higher which bore the divine image, due to 
the inbreathing of the Almighty, and that it was the union of these 
two which constituted man a living soul, or a living creature. We 
have seen also that when the penalty fell on man, its first effects 
were seen in his higher nature, and the penalty, read in the light 
of the record, is not the extinction of being, but of conscious well- 

(c) We have seen reason to reject the Annihilationist view of 
death, because the Scriptures teach that the soul retains a con- 
scious existence after death. The existence of an unconscious 
entity will not meet the facts. A state of conscious happiness, or 
misery is required. 

(d) We have seen that the view upon which we have been ad- 
verting, is not in harmony with the New Testament usage of the 
words LIFE and DEATH, particularly when they are associated with 
the mission of Christ. We have seen ample evidence that life signi- 
fies, not merely conscious existence, but man's NORMAL EXISTENCE, 
a blessed life in fellowship with God, where all the fruits of his 
favour are enjoyed, and DEATH stands for the opposite, an ABNOR- 
MAL EXISTENCE OF ALIENATION from God, subject to all the 
penal evils, which such alienation entails here, or hereafter. And 
we have seen that this is the life Christ declares he came to impart, 
and the death from which he delivers us. 


(e) We have seen that the doctrine of Conditional Immortality 
is self destructive, and that we are compelled either to abandon 
the hope of a resurrection, or to renounce the assumption that death 
is the extinction of being. It is surely quite unnecessary to pursue 
any of the other converging lines of Scriptural evidence which gQ 
to show that Conditional Immortality has no foundation in the 
Word of God. 

We are, however, frequently reminded, as if it were decisive of 
the whole question, that the Scriptures assert that " God only hath 
immortality." But those who urge this argument, should remem- 
ber two things, viz., (i) that when these words are taken without 
restriction, they exclude Conditional Immortality, as truly as a 
natural immortality, bestowed by God on the entire race at crea- 
tion, and continued to them in accordance with his unchanging 
purpose, and (2) when the words are taken with the Scriptural 
limitation, which would make them consistent with the doctrine of 
Conditional Immortality, they are equally in harmony with the 
ordinary doctrine of the Christian Church. All they teach is the 
unquestionable, but most important fact, that God has immortality 
IN AND OF HIMSELF. His is underived and independent, while 
that of the creature is derived and dependent. God's being, his 
wisdom, his holiness and all his perfections, belong to him in a 
way that nothing can possibly belong to the creature. Ex. iii. 14, 
Rom. xvi. 27, Rev. xv. 4 and 1st Tim. vi. 16. And from the be- 
ginning, the Christian Church has been careful to ascribe no immor- 
tality to man which is not derived from God, and dependent on 
his sustaining power. 

We are also sometimes asked, whether it is not an abuse of 
language to force such words as " destroy " and " perish " to mean 
endless conscious misery. Those who remember that Christ came 
to save the LOST (Gr. destroyed) will not allow this question to 
shut them up to annihilation. Those who ask it, probably do not 
mean to impose on their readers. Through mental confusion, they 


have only imposed on themselves. They do not perceive that two 
things may be inseparable, and quite consistent with each other, 
which arc nevertheless not convertible. Light and heat are insep- 
arable in a sun-beam, but it would be an abuse of language to 
make light mean heat. Sin and misery are inseparable in this 
world and in the next, yet it would be an abuse of language to 
make sin mean misery. And so, while the words "destroy and 
" perish," may not be terms convertible with endless conscious 
misery, they may be perfectly consistent with it, if the destruction 
referred to is of that which renders existence godlike, noble, useful, 
and desirable. 

But those who teach that the wicked shall be annihilated 
through sufferings, which may be protracted for '■ ages of ages," 
should not forget that it is equally an abuse of language to make 
the words "perish" and "destroy" mean conscious misery for 
" ages of ages." 

I cannot conclude, without expressing the conviction that the 
doctrine of Conditional Immortality degrades the entire conception 
of Christianity, to an extent that few who have embraced it, under- 
stand fully. If the penalty threatened on account of sin is the 
extinction of being, the life which Christ bestows is the opposite. 
It is the imparting to men endless conscious existence. Only this, 
and nothing more. Holiness of heart and life, cannot enter into 
the end. It may be a means to the end, or a condition, without 
which the end cannot be secured, but the end is mere conscious 
existence. When we open our New Testaments, we read that 
believers were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world 
that they should be hol}\ (Eph. i. 4.) We are told that our Redeem- 
er is called Jesus, not because he saves his people from extinction 
of being, but because he saves them from their sins. (Matt. i. 21.) We 
are informed that he gave himself for us, that he might redeem us 
from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous 
of good works. (Tit. ii. 14.) We are assured that Christ loved the 


Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse 
it. (Eph. V. 25-26.) If there is one fact respecting redemption, 
which stands forth more prominently in the New Testament than 
another, it is that the grand end which Christ had in view, in sub- 
ordination to the glory of God, was the holiness of his people, 
their complete restoration to the moral and spiritual image of God. 
But now we are asked to believe, that the grand end was that men 
might be preserved in existence. And to this holiness itself must 
be subordinated. This is a revolution and a degradation. The 
man who values a painting, not for the touches of the artist's skill 
and genius, which have made it instinct with thought and charac- 
ter, but for the square yards of its surface, has done in art, what 
will be effected for Christianity, when for that holiness of heart 
and life, which is the grand end of Christ's redeeming work, men 
shall learn to substitute the conscious existence of Conditional 







" The hypocrite's hope shall perish — whose hope shall be cut 
off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web. When a wicked man 
dieth, his expectation shall perish ; and the hope of unjust men 

" The righteous hath hope in his death." 

" Heavenly hope is all serene. 
But earthly hope, how bright soe'er, 

Still fluctuates o'er this changing scene, 
As false and fleeting as 'tis fair." 


HE Eternal Hope"* of Canon Farrar nas received 
~^<^ much greater consideration than it deserves, chiefly 
on account of the prominent position of its author, and 
the important services he has rendered Christian lit- 
erature, and the fact that such sentiments and opinions 
are tolerated in men of the highest standing, within the 
pale of the Church of England. Brilliant, impassioned and elo- 
quent as all his writings are, a man who has no definite belief or 
convictions regarding the duration of future punishment, should be 
less lavish in hurling anathemas at others who are as sincere in 
their belief as Canon Farrar is in his doubts. Indeed it may be 
said with good reason, that the man who has nothing but a hope, 
and shrinks from accepting or rejecting the teachings of universal- 
ism on the one hand, and orthodoxy on the other hand, is not in 
the best position to brand those who differ from him as hard-heart- 
ed, cruel and revengeful. It has ever been found that those who 
accept without cavilling the teachings of Scripture regarding ever- 
lasting punishment, are those who, with tender pity and agonizing 
cries, bend over and beseech men to be reconciled to God. As 

• " Eternal Hope — Five 8°rmons preached in Westminster Abbey, .^'ovember and 
December 1877, by the Kev. Frederick W. Farrar D. D., F. R. S., (Janon of Westmius- 
ter, Chaplain in ordinary to the Queen &c , &c. 


Professor Phelps truly says : " Unbelievers in the doctrine of future 
punishment are never, on any very large scale, efficient supporters 
of missions. Why is this ? Simply because they do not believe, 
as others do, that this is a lost world. Not believing this element- 
ary fact of the situation, they unconsciously lower the whole re- 
demptive work of Christ to the level and to the temperature of 
that negative." 

The views held by Canon Farrar have already been summar- 
ised ; affirming neither the universalist nor agnostic theories, he 
indulges in an eternal hope, and lifts up behind the darkness in th2 
back ground, the hope that every winter will turn to spring. 

In justice to such a distinguished man, it is only fair that they 
should be given, in his own words, and at greater length. 

Universalism, which teaches that the infinite love of God cannot 
punish the creature throughout eternity, he cannot accept, inasmuch 
as however deeply he desires such to be the will of God, and thinks 
it in accord with mercy and justice that sinners should ultimately 
be restored and forgiven, it is not clearly revealed to us, and no 
one can estimate the power of the human will to reject the love of 

Conditional Immortality or annihilationism he rejects, as having 
little basis in God's word. The almost universal and instinctive 
belief in the immortality of the soul, which is found in every age, 
is against it, and it leaves us with the awful conclusion, that God 
raises up the wicked from death, only that they ma)- be tormented 
and finally destroyed. 

Purgatory, which the Roman Catholic Church describes, as a 
fire, where the souls of the righteous are purified by punishment of 
some fixed period, that entrance may be given them into their 
eternal home, he rejects, not because he is averse to the acceptance 
of the truth which the word purgatory involves ; but because it is 
mixed up with a number of views, in which he cannot believe. 


As regards the evang-elical and commonly received doctrines of 
everlasting punishment, he does not deny the doctrine of future 
retribution ; he believes that sin cannot be forgiven until it is re- 
pented of and forsaken, and that the doom of sin is both merciful 
and just. Thus far he agrees with the teachings of the church. 
But he rejects, (a) Physical torments (in which it need hardly be 
said, he does not stand alone) ; (b) The doctrine that future pun- 
ishment is necessarily endless ; (c) That the vast mass of mankind 
will suffer such ; and (d) That this doom is passed irrevocably at 
the moment of death, upon all who die in a state of sin. (Only 
the second and fourth of these particulars are fundamental beliefs 
in the Protestant creed, as Canon Farrar well knows.) 

Canon Farrar's condemnation of all who differ from him, is sad- 
ly inconsistent with the liberty accorded himself as a dignitary of 
the Church of England. He cannot see how any man who has a 
heart of pity can believe in the eternal duration of punishment ; he 
charges his ministerial brethren of the orthodox faith with evasion 
and endless modifications and sophistries, to get rid of teaching 
what they do not believe, although solemnly subscribed to in the 
confessions of their church, He ascribes the prevalence of infidel- 
ity to the revolt of an indignant conscience against the teaching of 
everlasting punishment as an essential part of the gospel, while at 
the same time he subscribes to the agnostic creed of " in memori- 

am " : — • 

" Behold, we know not anything, 
lean but trust that good shall fall 
At last — ^far off — at last to all. 
And every winter turn to spring." 

"The complacency of ignorance that takes itself for know- 
ledge," he says, " may be ready with glaring and abhorent pictures 
of fire and brimstone, and dilate upon the awfulness of the suffer- 
ings of the damned ; but those whose faith must have a broader 
basis than the halting reconciliation of ambiguous and opposing 
texts ; who grieve at the dark shadows flung by human theologians 


athwart God's light ; who beh'eve that reason, and conscience, and 
experience, as well as Scripture, are books of God, which must 
have a direct voice in those great decisions, will not be so ready to 
snatch God's thunder into their own wretched and feeble hands, 
and undeterred by the base and feeble notion that virtue would be 
impossible without the horrors of an endless hell, will declare their 
hope and trust that even alter death, through the infinite mercy of 
God, many of the dead shall be alive again, and the lost be found." 
Finally he insinuates thit those who believe in the final restitution 
of all things, and the ingathering of both wicked and good into 
heaven, are the most God-like : — 

"The wish that, of the living whole, 
No life may fail beyond the grave, 
Derives it not from what we have, 

The likest God within the soul." 

Canon Farrar, in his eagerness to show the awful cruelty of 
those who believe in eternal punishment, draws pictures of hell, 
and uses language, which he knows well are never used at the 
present day, and which belong to an age when the modes of thought 
and speech were radically different from that of modern times. The 
conception of hell, as held by orthodox Christians, he describes as 
" a vast and burning prison, in which the souls of millions and mil- 
lions writhe and shriek forever, tormented in a flame that never 
will be quenched " — as " a great lake or liquid globe of fire, in which 
the wicked shall be overwhelmed, which shall always be in tempest 
in which they shall be tossed to and fro, having no rest day nor 
night, vast billows of fire continually rolling over their heads, of 
which they shall ever be full of a quick sense, within and without, 
their eyes, their tongues, their hands, their feet, their loins, and their 
vitals shall forever be full of a glowing, melting fire, enough to 
melt the very rocks and elements — all this not for ten millions of 
ages, but for ever and ever, without end at all." That such lan- 
guage has been used, all conversant with the literature of this sub 


ject wi!! admit, but that any number have " exulted in such views 
of everlasting punishment," and not rather mourned, what seemed 
to them the fatal necessity for believing them, is a statement wholly 
unsupported by facts. It is not after such a manner that the great 
Nonconformist divines have held and taught it, nor has it ever been 
held as he describes it by the highest class of theologians in the 
Church of England, and even these frightful pictures of everlasting 
punishment by Tertullian and others, quoted by Canon Farrar, are 
not one whit more vivid and repeilant than his own, when describ- 
ing the hrrrors of delirium tremens in the drunkard. " Have you 
ever seen — if not, may you never see — a young man suffering from 
delirium tremens? Have you ever heard him describe its horrors 
— horrors such as not even Dante imagined in the most harrowing 
scenes of his "Inferno" — the blood red suffusion of the eyes 
quenched suddenly in darkness — the myriads of burning, whirling 
rings of concentric fire — millions of foul insects seeming to weave 
their damp, soft webs about the face — the bloated, hideous, ever 
changing faces of their visions — the feeling as if a man were falling, 
falling, falling endlessly, into a fathomless abyss. This is the goal 
to which intemperance leads — as thou lovest thine own soul, it is 
better for thee to enter into life bh'nd and maimed rather than cast 
thyself into this Gehenna of Aeonian fire — this depth of disgrace 
and of corruption, where the worm of the drunkard dieth not, and 
his fire is not quenched." Now, no one finds fault with Canon 
Farrar in using such methods, to deter men from the terrible re- 
sults of intemperance. If one drunkard can be reclaimed by the 
use of such dark coloring, it is fully warranted. But why should 
Canon Farrar rebuke earnest men, who in the very same manner 
seek to reclaim their fellows from eternal misery, towards which in- 
temperance is one of the many gateways ? The Scriptures indulge 
in no such " ghastly " modes of warning men to flee from the wrath 
to come. " Their warnings are the more impressive because the 
words are fev^ ■'nd simple, severe in their calm grandeur of earnest 


caution ; outer darkness, weeping, mourning and gnashing of teeth." 
Surely it were inorc seemly and more befitting the dignity of the 
scholar, for him to prove that the punishment of the wicked is not 
eternal, without regard to the varied coloring given to such punish- 
ment, from age to age ! 

What then does Canon Farrar's optimistic theory amount to? 
To the question, what shall be the condition of the impenitent 
dead, what does he reply ? Absolutely nothing. He indulges a 
hope, but he gives no valid scriptural grounds for his hope. While 
repudiating controversy, he does all he can to teach men to reject 
and even detest, one of the fundamental articles of Christian belief. 
He argues as if the universe ought to have been governed on the 
principle, that its ruler never would inflict pain upon any creature 
of his hand, and that eternal punishment is antagonistic to the 
mercy and justice of God. Surely one who denies with such bit- 
terness the teachings of Christendom, and casts dishonor upon good 
men, who present the torments of Hell in terms uncouth to ears 
polite, should be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in him. 
Endless punishment he cannot find in Scripture ; he thinks it may 
mean an intermediate, a remedial, a metaphorical, a terminable 
retribution ; he shakes off the hideous incubus of atrocious con- 
ceptions, attached to the commonly received doctrines of future 
misery. But what positive teaching does he give us ? He dare 
not dogmatize as to forgiveness beyond the grave ; he cannot be- 
lieve in purgatory, or conditional immortality, or universalism, al- 
though he speaks of the latter with approval. He affirms that God 
has given us no clear and decisive revelation, as to the final condi- 
tion of those who die in sin, and only hopes that the vast majoritx- 
of the lost may be found. Souls that in this world have failed to 
secure forgiveness " may entertain hope, though they may have to 
be purified beyond the grave." His creed may be summed up in 
these words ! " The destruction of the work of the devil in the 
universe by the hand of God ; sin withered under the curse of the 


souls that were once its victims, the devil spoiled of his dark do- 
minion by the hand of omnipotent love ; Hell destroyed and Christ 
triumphant, gathering- the spoils of his cross and passion here and 
in all worlds." 

That there are certain popular preachers and theologians, who 
sympathize with Canon Farrar is well known. In no case, however, 
do they give us anything more explicit, than that of the sermons 
under review. The assertion of "The hope," is indeed so qualified, 
as to indicate the baselessness of the theory alike as regards reason 
and Scripture. A recent candidate appearing before a New Eng- 
land congregational council for examination, qualifies his accept- 
ance of the orthodox creed in the following terms: — (i) The 
Judge of all the earth will do right. (2) No soul will be saved 
except on the basis of conversion and regeneration, (3) No soul 
will be lost until all the resources of divine love consistent with 
human freedom have been exhausted. He said unqualifiedly that 
he had no hope to extend to any sinner beyond the moment that 
salvation was offered him. While he declined to make any dog- 
matic statement concerning whether any opportunity might be 
offered of repentance after death, he distinctly and emphatically 
said that he had no hope to offer to any of such an opportunity, 
and that he preached the duty of immediate repentance, under peril 
of being eternally lost. Dr. Donald McLcod, Editor of " Good 
Words," writing on the future destiny of the wicked, says he has 
no difficulty in rejecting the popular conception of the future pun- 
ishment which represents infinite and eternal torment, as the pen- 
alty fixed by God for some definite act or acts done in this life. 
But the real difficulty, he adds, refers not to the eternity of punish- 
ment but to the continuance of sin. We see the sinner growing 
worse in this world, in spite of every deterring influence. Is it not 
conceivable that such a career may continue ? Having resisted God 
for so long, he may do so for ever. In this world we are met by 
too many terrible facts to warrant our constructing, on merely an- 


teccdcnt reasoning, the vision of an absolutely happy universe. 
Nevertheless, while recognizing the difficulties that beset the sub- 
ject, Dr. Macleod thinks we are permitted to fall back with reverent 
hearts on the " larger hope " of " restitution of all things." At the 
same time, he feels that assertions are made on this dark question 
which betray great lack of thoughtfulness. " The difficulties that 
surround it cannot, unfortunatel}-, be swept away at the bidding of 
mere generous sentiment." 

In much stronger terms, as might be expected, but still less 
satisfactory, Mr. Bcechcr, speaking of the myriads of men who are 
living without God, and without hope in the world, thus delivers 

" If, now, you tell me, that this great mass of men, because they 
had not the knowledge of God, went to heaven, I say that the in- 
road of such a vast amount of mud swept into heaven would be 
destructive of its purity ; I cannot accept that view. If, on the 
other hand, you say that they went to hell, then you make an infidel 
of me ; for I do swear, by the Lord Jesus Christ, by his groans, by 
his tears, and by the wounds in his hands and in his side, that I will 
never let go of the truth, that the nature of God is to suffer for 
others, rather than to make them suffer. If I lose everything else, 
I will stand on the sovereign idea that God so loved the world that 
he gave his own Son to die for it rather than it should die. Tell 
me that back of Christ there is a God, who for unnumbered cen- 
turies has gone on creating men and sweeping them like dead flies 
— nay, like living ones — into hell, is to ask me to worship a being 
as much worse than the conception of any mediaeval devil as can 
be imagined ; but I will not worship the devil, though he should 
come dressed in roj'al robes, and sit on the throne of Jehovah, But 
it is not true — the Scripture does not teach it, and the whole sense 
of human justice revolts at it — that for the myriads who have been 
swept out of this life without the light and knowledge of the divine 
iove there is reserved an eternity of suffering. In that mystery of 


the divine will and work of which the apostle speaks, in the far-off 
dispensation of the fullness of time, there is some other solution 
than this nightmare of a mediaeval theology. But has not God jus- 
tice also ? And is he not of purer eyes than to behold iniquity ? 
Yes. And the distinction between right and wrong are as eternal 
as God himself The relation between sin and retribution belongs 
not to the mere temporal condition of things ; it inheres in the 
divine constitution, aud is for all eternity. THE PROSPECT FOR 

" Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing," may fitly be ap- 
plied to such declamation. It is not only entirely unsatisfactory, 
but is entirely out of place when discussing such a momentous 

It is not wonderful, then, that the most learned and pious divines 
in Europe have denounced such endeavors to unsettle men's minds, 
without giving them anything like presumptive evidence of the 
theory enunciated. As has been well said, it is not wise to leave 
huge vacant spaces, like the wastes within the walls of Rome and 
Constantinople, in men's minds, where once some definite notions 
as to one of the most momentous topics which can exercise thought, 
were held. But this is what Canon Farrar has done. There is no 
difficulty in understanding what he denies, but it is hard to discover 
what he asserts or believes. He ridicules the poetry and parables 
and metaphors of Scripture, when used in support of the doctrine 
of everlasting punishment, but when isolated texts can be wrenched 
from their plain contextual meaning, and when tradition favors his 
views, he has no scruples to use them. His teaching is destructive 
— to pull down — to undermine faith in the most tremendous reali- 
ties of the future. It may not be Universalism in so many words, 
but for all practical purposes the difference is so little, it may be 
regarded as essentially the same. 


Now let us ask, what is the benefit of such a vague eternal hope, 
when the minister of religion leaves his pulpit, and stands face to face 
with some anxious soul, which is soon to appear before its Maker ? 
When the mind, "diseased with sin's hot fever," cries out piteously 
for something solid to rest upon, apart from the mere conjectures 
of any living man — whether is it wiser to hold up before the vision 
of the dying man this fond dream of universal blessedness, or rather 
• — while not holding back, nor toning down "the terrors of the 
Lord " — to press home the question — " How shall we escape if we 
neglect so great salvation," affirming at the same time — that ere we 
leave the world, the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse from all sin, 
that he that believeth is not condemned, and that even the would- 
be-suicide and murderer, who accepts a Saviour, shall be saved ? 

In regard to the old fashioned method of presenting the doctrine 
of eternal punishment, which Canon Farrar so severely denounces, 
we in the main agree with him. While no man dare rashly say 
what kind of torment is in store for the impenitent — for this is one 
of the secrets which belong to God — it is not well to present pic- 
tures to the imagination that are not fully warranted by Scripture. 
God's Word, while clearly teaching the indestructibility of the soul, 
as against the teachings of Materialism and Annihilationism, and 
giving, as we think, little ground for believing that men who des- 
pise mercy here, shall repent and be saved hereafter, does not cer- 
tainly seek to drive men, without the ccuisent ot their reason and 
will, to a change of conduct. The obedience of love is much more 
noble than anything that is extorted by mere terror. As has been 
well said, to paralyze a man's mind with fear at impending danger 
is not the best way of enabling him to avoid it, and to draw tragic 
pictures of hell is not the best wa)^ to keep men from falling into it. 

In his reply to the many pungent criticisms that followed the 
publication of " Eternal hope," Canon Farrar attempts to justify 
his position. We look in vain, however, for anything more sat- 
isfactory or positive than in the original work. He complains 


that the circumstances under which his book was published have 
been overlooked or ignored. It did not profess to be a formal treatise. 
"The main part of it consisted of sermons, written under the dif- 
ficulty of interrupted leisure and uninterrupted anxieties ; written 
a day or two before they were delivered ; written to be addressed 
to large miscellaneous audiences ; written lastly under the influence 
of emotions which had been deeply stirred by circumstances, and 
had taken the strongest possible hold of my imagination and memo- 
ry. While I was musing, the fire burned, and it was only at the 
last that I spake with my tongue. It is not thus that I should 
have addressed a small audience of learned theologians. It is not 
thus that I should have addressed ANY audience but one which for 
the time being I could regard as my own. Expressing the same 
convictions I should have formulated them with more deliberate 

But it was not the setting of the sermons, so much as the reck- 
lessness and daring, with which the profoundest convictions of the 
Christian world were assailed, that startled and shocked the religi- 
ous feelings. Nor is there any necessity for excusing his first and 
hurried preparations, if after the lapse of years, in the calm leisure 
of his study, he still maintains his theory without qualification, 
against the views of others. His more recent utterances are these : 

" I am NOT a Universalist. I do not mean that I condemn the 
doctrine as heretical or untenable ; or that I do not feel (can there 
be such a wretch as not to feel?) a longing, yearning DESIRE that 
it might be true. But I dare not say that it MUST be true, because, 
as I intimated in my book, no man has ever explained the present 
existence of evil, and no man has ever sounded or can know the 
abysmal deeps of personality or ' the marvel of the everlasting 

I have advocated the ancient and Scriptural doctrine of an in- 
terval between death and doom, during which state — whether it be 
regarded as purgatorial, as disciplinary, as probational, or as retri- 


butivc — whcllicr the ?Eon to which it belongs be long or sliort — 
we see no Scriptural or other reason to deny the possible continu- 
ance of God's gracious work of redemption and santification for the 
souls of men ; and I have added that I can find nothing in Scrip- 
ture or elsewhere, to prove tliat the ways of God's salvation neces- 
sarily tenninate with carthl)- life. 1 have never denied— nay, I 
have endeavored to support and illustrate — the doctrine of Retri- 
bution, both in this life and the life to come. I have never said — 
as I am slanderously reported to have said — that there is no "Hell," 
but only (and surely this should have been regarded as a self- 
evident proposition) that " Hell '' must mean what those words 
mean of which it is the professed translation ; and that those words 
— Hades,, Tartarus — mean something much less incon- 
ceivable, much less horribl)- hopeless, than what " Hell " originally 
meant, and than what it has come to connote in current religious 
teaching. I have not maintained Universalism, in spite of much 
apparent sanction for such a hope in the unlimited language of St. 
Paul, because I did not wish to dogmatize respecting things uncer- 
tain, and because I wished to give full weight to every serious con- 
sideration which may be urged against the acceptance of such a 
hope. I hive earnestly maintained that no soul can be saved while 
it continues in sin, or saved by any means except the efficacy of 
Christ's redemption. So far from derogating from the necessity of 
that awful sacrifice — as has been so often and so strangely asserted 
— I know of literally nothing which is so infinitel)' calculated to 
enhance our sense of its blessedness, or our love to Him who made 
it, as the hope that its power will be unexhausted even be^-ond the 

Seeing that repentance is always possible in life — seeing that so 
long as life lasts any man may become good — the Law of Contin- 
uity was one of the ver}' grounds on which I based the doctrine of 
Eternal Hope. If the greatness of God's mercies lasts till the grave, 
the Law of Continuity strengthens our hope that it will not be for 


ever cut short by the accident of death. If the efficacy of Christ's 
atonement lasts till death, the Law of Continuity helps to strength- 
en our conviction, that the love of God cannot be the one Divine 
power in the universe which, for man at any rate, is paralyzed by 
the hand of death." 

Among the many able and scholarly replies to Canon Farrar, 
by English divines, that of Dr. Allon. of London, is worthy of con- 
densation. It is as follows : — 

" The accretions which ignorant literalism, poets and painters, 
and above all, perhaps, priestcraft, have clustered around the root- 
idea of the retribution of sin in the future life, may be pulverized 
by a more spiritual conception ; and yet it may remain true that 
the retributive sequences of sin are irreversible, and even unending. 
The argument which is to decide the question must deal not so 
much with the ignorant and popular perversion, nor with the im- 
aginative forms of the painter, the poet and the rhetorician, nor 
with the metaphorical forms of Scripture representation even, but 
with the root idea of retribution, and with the exact evidence that 
revelation, the moral sense, philosophy, and experience may furnish. 

Thus reduced, it will hardly be maintained that the subjective 
consciousness of a man, however elevated and refined by pure religi- 
ous feeling, is competent to demonstrate — (i) Whether the sequen- 
ces of sin will in the future life be reversible ? (2) Whether, if they 
are not, they are terminable ? For all information concerning the 
facts and the characteristics of the life hereafter, whether affecting 
the saved or the lost, we are necessarily dependent upon the testi- 
mony of revelation, whatever the verifying functions of our own 
reason and moral faculty. Naturally, therefore, our first inquiry is 
concerning the testimony of Christ, who hath " brought life and 
immortality to light." 

That the conception of God as an Almighty being, inflicting 
eternal torment upon his creatures by acts of material punish- 
ment, such as the mediaev^al Church represented, contradicts such 


elementary feelings, is fully conceded. Good men have had forcibly 
to subdue this feeling, to reason it down by logic, or to determine to 
believe in spite of it, because they deemed it authoritatively taught. 
Almost by common consent, however, men are renouncing tradi- 
tional beliefs in the material interpretations put upon the Scripture 
symbolism of retribution, and are inquiring concerning the moral 
ideas and processes which these represent. 

Is there, then, in our moral nature, when purest and most de- 
vout, anything to which the idea of finality, as we have suggested 
it, is in moral contradiction ? 

So far as equity goes, accepting the law of retribution as gradu- 
ated by the Apostle, in Romans ii. — viz., that men's responsibility, 
and therefore, ther culpability, is limited by theiir light and their 
personal ability, their opportunity and their circumstances — the 
moral sense cannot object. It is a rule of equity universally 

Looking at our Lord's sayings broadly and popularly, and with 
such a degree of deference to possible meanings of words as popu- 
lar teaching may admit, I cannot resist the conclusion that in the 
most absolute manner He affirmed and intended to affirm the 
finality of religious conditions after death. It would do violence to 
common sense, to intellectual respect, and to moral feeling, to sup- 
pose that his words conveyed a meaning diametrically opposite to 
that which he intended — that when He meant to say that retribu- 
tion was terminable. He was understood to mean that it was unend- 
ing. He would surely have corrected a misapprehension so false, 
on such a subject. Undeveloped meanings there necessarily were, 
but these are vastly different from contradictory meanings. 

Due allowance being made for rhetoric and poetry in certain 
passages, no authority can be drawn from Apostolic writings for 
any theory of Universalism or of a second probation. 

Notwithstanding, therefore, the strongest predisposition to opti- 
mist views concerning this great and fearful problem, I feel com- 


pelled to the conclusion that the testimony both of Scripture and 
of the moral judgment is in favor of the finality of moral condition 
after death. From neither does the theory of a second probation 
in another life, under other and more favorable conditions, derive 
any support. Against the theory that the ultimate issue in the 
conflict between good and evil will be the necessary salvation of 
every individual moral being, the presumption seems immense. It 
is contrary to all experience and to all analogy, it puts unauthor- 
ized limits upon human freedom, and it restricts unwarrantably the 
ways and issues of God's holy love." 

Those who have read Canon Farrar's " Life of Christ," cannot 
fail to observe how materially he has changed his views since he 
wrote that fascinating volume. In chapter 44 of that work, allud- 
ing to the narrative of the rich man and Lazarus, he says : " This 
constant reference to life as a time of probation, and to the great 
judgment, when the one word, ' Come ' or ' Depart,' as uttered by 
the Judge, should decide all controversies and all questions forever, 
naturally turned the thoughts of many listeners to these solemn 
subjects." Again in speaking of Christ's answer to the question, 
" Are there few that be saved ?" He says : " Since the efforts, the 
woeful efforts, the erring efforts, (to enter the straight gate) of many 
fail ; since the day will come when the door shall be shut, and it 
shall be forever too late to enter there ; since no impassioned ap- 
peal shall then admit ; since some of those who, in their spiritual 
pride, thought that they best knew the Lord, shall hear the awful 
repudiation, * I know you not ' — strive ye to be of those who enter 
in." Again, speaking of Christ's second coming, he says : " For 
though till then all the various fellowships of toil or friendliness 
should continue, that night would be one of fearful and final separ- 
ations ! " And he adds : " The disciples were startled and terrified 
by words of such solemnity." 

To close these remarks on Canon Farrar's views, surely in a 
matter fraught with such tremendous consequences of weal or woe 


to the human race, it is not by passionate unreasonable appeals to 
men's feelings, or the use of florid rhetoric that holds up tu scorn, 
what has been the faith of Christendom for centuries, that truth is 
to be reached and such a question settled ? To dwell upon the 
love of God exclusively, without regard to His holiness and justice 
is to make a false representation of the Deity. 

" A God all mercy, is a God unjust." 

No reader of history, but must acknowledge that God m past 
ages has by terrible doings punished evil. What he will do with 
sin in the future, it is not for man to predict. Those who flippant- 
ly assert that God cannot exact the penalty of sin throughout all 
eternity, ought to be able as easily to explain why evil exists at all. 
The origin of sin and its permission for so long a time is the mys- 
tery of the universe. All that we know concerning it is found in 
the word of God, where alone are to be found any statements con- 
cerning the future condition of the unsaved. Appeals to reason or 
moral sense leave us in utter uncertainty. Those who are trans- 
gressors of the law whether human or divine, are not the best judges 
of the justice of the decrees that condemn them. To set the hu- 
man creature above his Maker, and question His right to punish, 
is to reverse the order of things — dethrone the Almighty, and deny 
His sovereign right to the correction and control of His creatures 
as he sees fit. " Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against 
God ? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast 
Thou made me thus ? What if God is willing to show His wrath, 
and to make His power known, endured with much long-suffering, 
the vessels of wrath fitted to destructicn, and that he might make 
known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He 
had afore prepared unto glory." 

Canon Farrar seeks to throw contempt on the generally receiv- 
ed opinion of Christians by adding to their creed, what I trust very 
few believe, that the vast majority of mankind shall be lost. How 


the heathen are to be dealt with, in view of their ignorance of 
the Gospel of Christ, is a question that has never yet been categor- 
ically answered by the deepest thinkers of the age. This much we 
know, that merciful allowance will be made for such as have not 
enjoyed the light of Christianity — that according to privilege and 
opportunity shall be their accountability and deserts. " He that 
knew not his Lord's will and did commit things worthy of stripes 
shall be beaten with few stripes." It shall be more tolerable for 
the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than 
for nominal Christians who reject the truth. 

Belief in the doctrine of endless punishment by no means con- 
signs the majority of our race to eternal death. On the contrary, 
the generally accepted opinion of the Christian Church, favors the 
ultimate salvation of a very large proportion of the human family. 
While there seems to be no hope held out for such as despise 
offered mercy, there are many reasons in harmony with revelation, 
that lead us to conclude that a number that no man can number, 
shall at last be gathered into heaven. When we think of the many 
generations who lived and died before the advent, and the partial 
diffusion of the gospel since ; and still further, that those who die 
in infancy or who are not gifted with ordinary capacity are saved 
without any instrumentality on the part of man ; " we dare not fix 
any definite amount of knowledge and profession as indispensable 
to salvation, or pronounce that the area of salvation is co-extensive 
with those portions of the globe where knowledge has been en- 
joyed, and where the truth of God has taken effect upon the 
heart." Rather we may hope that large numbers of souls, beyond 
all human calculation, shall be drawn to Christ. Assuredly the 
Judge of all the earth shall do right. His justice shall be amply 
vindicated in that day, when he turns the wisdom of men into 
foolishness, and confounds the vain imagination of their hearts. 
No mere hope then, in the mercyof God, shall stay the pronouncing 
of sentence and the infliction of doom. 


If there be any readers of these pages, who have nothinc^ more 
tlian "a hope " that God will in some way condone unforci^ivcn 
iniquity in the future world, I beg them to seek some better opiate 
to soothe the unrestful and persistent demands of the soul after 
peace. Conjectures, surmises, speculations, as to what may be, or 
might be, ought never to be preached. Wc dare not preach a gos- 
pel which says in effect — no matter what you do now, surely God, 
in his infinite mercy, will, at some time future, rectify all mistakes. 
For if men are in no danger of being lost forever, they do not need 
a Saviour. If there is a hope, however slender, that Ged will relax 
the penalties of his moral government, and that at last, independent 
of present conduct, the good and bad alike shall be restored to His 
image, we may as well give up the whole scheme of redemption as 
ai idle fable and nothing more. The mass of men need no excuse 
for continuing in sin. 

Every utterance from the pulpit that weakens the sanctions of 
virtue, and leads men to continue lives of sensuality, profligacy and 
dishonesty in the hope of future pardon, and escape from conse- 
quences in some intermediate state beyond the grave, is eagerly 
read. If there is the least doubt as to the certainty of punishment 
they will take advantage of it. Better far then that we persuaded 
men to dread sin, more than the penalty. Had they correct views 
of the heinousness and guilt of sin, they would not cry out against 
endless punishment, or characterize the doctrine as inconsistent with 
the justice of God. Instead of vain efforts to believe what con- 
science denies, they would accept with glad and simple faith, the 
all sufficient remedy provided for sin. If the Bible contains con- 
demnatory language, it is no less replete with appeals and en- 
treaties. " In Christ incarnate, the crucified, risen and glorified 
one, we see God lifting the red thunderbolt of His wrath, and 
holding it before men and angels, transformed into the blazing sun 
of His love." As the well known hymn says : 

c^TI^rTs^r. 191 

*' Not to condemn the sons of men ; 
The son of God appeared, 
No weapons in his hand are seen, 
Nor voice of terror heard. 

lie came to raise our fallen state, 

And our lost hopes restore, 
Faith leads us to the mercy' scai, 

And bids us fear no n\ore." 

This is our " oloriial hoiic," that God no pleasure in the 
death of the wicked and wills not that any should perish. Believ- 
ing; this, we live forever. In the words of the poet: 

" We would be melted by the heat of love, 
IW llames far fiercer than arc blown to prove, 
^\nd purge the silver ore adulterate." 





(With special reference to the views of Canon Farrak,) 


REV. W. T. G. SHEDD, D D., 

Professor in Union Theological Seminary, New York. 

HE chief objections to the doctrine of endless punish- 
ment are not Biblical but speculative. The great 
majority of students and exegetes find the tenet in 
the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. Davidson, the 
most learned of English rationalistic critics, explicitly ac- 
^t^ knowledges that " if a specific sense be attached to words, 
never-ending misery is enunciated in the Bible. On the presump- 
tion that one doctrine is taught, it is the eternity of hell torments. 
Bad exegesis may attempt to banish it from the New Testament 
Scriptures, but it is still there, and expositors who wish to get rid 
of it, as Canon Farrar does, injure the cause they have in view by 
misrepresentation. It must be allowed that the New Testament 
record not only makes Christ assert everlasting punishment, but 
Paul and John. But the question should be looked at from a larger 
platform than single texts — in the light of God's attributes, and 
the nature of the soul. The destination of man, and the Creator's 
infinite goodness, conflicting as they do with everlasting punish- 
ment, remove it from the sphere of rational belief. If provision be 



not made in revelation for a change of moral character after death, 
it is made in reason. Philosophical considerations must not be 
set aside even by Scripture." (Last Things, pp. 133, 136, 151.) 

So long, then, as the controversy is carried on by an appeal to 
the Bible, the defender of endless retribution has comparatively an 
easy task. But when the appeal is made to human feeling and 
sentiment, or to ratiocination, the demonstration requires more 
effort. And yet the doctrine is not only Biblical but rational. It 
is defensible on the basis of sound ethics and pure reason. No- 
thing is requisite for its maintenance but the admission of three 
cardinal truths of theism, namely, that there is a just God ; that 
man has free will ; and that sin is voluntary action. If these are 
denied, there can be no defence of endless punishment — or of any 
other doctrine, except atheism and its corollaries. 

The Bible and all the creeds of Christendom affirm man's free 
agency in sinning against God. The transgression which is to 
receive the endless punishment is voluntary.- Sin ,whether it be 
inward inclination or outward act, is unforced human agency. 
This is the uniform premise of Christian theologians of all schools. 
Endless punishment supposes the liberty of the human will, and is 
impossible without it. Could a man prove that he is necessitated 
in his murderous hate and his murderous act, he would prove, in 
this very proof, that he ought not to be punished for it, either in 
time or eternity. Could Satan really convince himself that his 
moral character is not his own work, but that of God, or of nature, 
his remorse would cease, and his punishment would end. Self- 
determination runs parallel with hell. 

Guik, then, is what is punished, and not misfortune. Free and 
not forced agency is what teels the stroke of justice. What, now, 
is this stroke ? Everything depends upon the right answer to this 
question. The fallacies and errors of Universalism find their nest 
and hiding place at this point. The true definition of punishment 
detects and excludes them, 


Punishment is neither chastisement nor calamity. Men suffer 
calamity, says Christ, not because they or their parents have sinned, 
"but that the works of God should be made manifest in them." 
John ix. 3. Chastisement is inflicted in order to develop a good 
but imperfect character already formed. " The Lord loveth whom 
he chasteneth," and " what son is he whom the earthly father chas- 
teneth not?" Hebrews xii. 6, 7. Punishment, on the other hand, 
is retribution, and is not intended to do the work of either calamity 
or chastisement, but a work of its own. And this work is to vin- 
dicate law, to satisfy justice. Punishment, therefore, is wholly 
retrospective in its primary aim. It looks back at what has been 
done in the past. Its first and great object is requital. A man is 
hung for murder, principally and before all other reasons because 
he has voluntarily transgressed the law forbidding murder. He is 
not hung from a prospective aim, such as his own moral improve- 
ment, or for the purpose of deterring others from committing mur- 
der. The remark of the English judge to the horse-thief, in the 
days when such theft was capitally punished, " You are not hung 
because you have stolen a horse, but that horses may not be stolen," 
has never been regarded as eminently judicial. It is true that 
personal improvement may be one consequence of the infliction of 
penalty. But the consequence must not be confounded with the 
purpose. Cum hoc NON ergo propter hoc. The criminal may 
come to see and confess that his crime deserves its punishment, and 
in genuine unselfish penitence may take sides with the law, ap- 
prove its retribution, and go into the presence of the Final Judge, 
relying upon that great atonement which satisfies eternal justice 
for sin ; but even this, the greatest personal benefit of all, is not 
what is aimed at in man's punishment of the crime of murder. For 
should there be no such personal benefit as this attending the in- 
fliction of the human penalty, the one sufficient reason for inflicting 
it still holds good, namely, the fact that the law has been violated, 
and demands the death of the offender for this reason simply and 


only. " The notion of ill-desert and punishableness," says Kant 
(Praktische Vernunft, 151. Ed. Rosenkranz), " is necessarily inii)lied 
in the idea of voluntary transgression ; and the idea of punishment 
excludes that of happiness in all its forms. For though he who 
inflicts punishment may, it is true, also have a benevolent purpose, 
to produce by the punishment some good effect upon the criminal, 
yet the punishment must be justified, first of all, as pure and simple 
requital and retribution : that is, as a kind of suffering that is de- 
manded by the law without any reference to its prospective bene- 
ficial consequences ; so that even if no moral improvement and no 
personal advantage should subsequently accrue to the criminal, he 
must acknowledge that justice has been done to him, and his ex- 
perience is exact!}/ conformed to his conduct. In every instance 
of punishment, properly so called, justice is the very first thing, and 
constitutes the essence of it. A benevolent purpose and a happy 
effect, it is true, may be conjoined with punishment ; but the crim- 
inal cannot claim this as his due, and he has no right to reckon 
upon it. All that he deserves is punishment, and this is all that he 
can expect from the law which he has transgressed." These are 
the words of as penetrating and ethical a thinker as ever lived. 

Neither is it true, that the first and principal aim of punishment 
is the protection of society and the public good. This, like the 
personal benefit in the preceding case, is only secondary and inci- 
dental. The public good is not a sufficient reason for putting a 
man to death ; but the satisfaction of law is. This view of penalty 
is most disastrous in its influence, as well as false in its ethics. For 
if the good of the public is the true reason and object of punish- 
ment, the amount of it may be fixed by the end in view. The 
criminal may be made to suffer more than his crime deserves, if 
the public welfare, in suppressing this particular kind of crime, re- 
quires it. His personal desert and responsibility not being the one 
sufficient reason for his suffering, he may be made to suffer as much 
a"^ the public safety requires. It was this theory of penalty th::t 


led to the multiplication of capital offenses. The prevention of 
forgery, it was once claimed in England, required that the forger 
should forfeit his life, and upon the principle that punishment is 
for the public protection, and not for strict and exact justice, an 
offence against human property was expiated by human life. Con- 
trary to the Noachic statute, which punishes only murder with 
death, this statute weighed out man's life-blood against pounds, 
shillings, and pence. On this theory, the number of capital offenses 
became very numerous and the cri.iiinal code very bloody. So 
that, in the. long run, nothing is kinder than exact justice. It pre- 
vents extremes in either direction — either that of indulgence or 
that of cruelty. 

This theory breaks down, from whatever point it be looked at. 
Suppose that there were but one person in the universe. If he 
should transgress the law of God, then, upon the principle of expe- 
diency as the ground of penalty, this solitary subject of moral gov- 
ernment could not be punished — that is, visited with a suffering 
that is purely retributive, and not exemplary or corrective. His 
act has not injured the public, for there is no public. There is no 
need of his suffering as an example to deter others, for there are no 
others. But upon the principle of justice, in distinction from ex- 
pediency, this solitary subject of moral government could be pun- 

The vicious ethics of this theory of penalty expresses itself in 
the demoralizing maxim, "It is better that ten guilty men should 
escape than that one innocent man should suffer." But this is no 
more true than the converse, " It is better that ten innocent men 
should suffer than that one guilty man should escape." It is a 
choice of equal evil and equal injustice. In either case alike, jus- 
tice is trampled down. In the first supposed case, there are eleven 
instances of injustice and wrong ; and in the last supposed case, 
there are likewise eleven instances of injustice and wrong. Un- 
punished guilt is precisely the same species of evil with punished 


innocence. To say, therefore, that it is better that ten guilty per- 
sons should escape than that one innocent man should suffer, is to 
say that it is better that there should be ten wrongs than one 
wrong against justice. 

The theory that punishment is retributive, honors human nature, 
but the theory that it is merely expedient and useful degrades it. 
If justice be the true ground of penalty, man is treated as a per- 
son ; but if the public good is the ground, he is treated as a chattel 
or a thing. When suffering is judicially inflicted because of the 
intrinsic gravity and real demerit of crime, man's free will and re- 
sponsibility are recognized and put in the foreground ; and these 
are his highest and distinguishing attributes. The sufficient reason 
for his suffering is found wholly within his own person, in the ex- 
ercise of self-determination. He is not seized by the magistrate 
and made to suffer for a reason extraneous to his own agency, and 
for the sake of something lying wholly outside of himself — namely, 
the safety and happiness of others — but because of his own act. 
He is not handled like a brute or an inanimate thing that ma\' be 
put to good use ; but he is recognized as a free and voluntary per- 
son, who is punished not because punishment is expedient and 
useful, but because it is just and right ; not because the public 
safety requires it, but because he owes it. The dignity of the man 
himself, founded in his lofty but hazardous endowment of free will, 
is acknowledged. 

Supposing it, now, to be conceded, that future punishment is 
retributive in its essential nature, it follows that it must be endless 
from the nature of the case. For suffering must continue as long 
as the reason for it continues. In this respect, it is like law, which 
lasts as long as its reason lasts : RATI ONE CESSANTE, CESSAT IPSA 
LEX. Suffering that is educational and corrective may come to an 
end, because moral infirmity, and not guilt, is the reason for its 
infliction ; and moral infirmity may cease to exist. But suffering 
that is penal can never come to an end, because guilt is the reason 


for its in/liction, and guilt once incurred never ceases to be. The 
lapse of time does not convert guilt into innocence, as it converts 
moral infirmity into moral strength ; and therefore no time can 
ever arrive when the guilt of the criminal will cease to deserve and 
demand its retribution. The reason for retribution to-day is a 
reason forever. Hence, when God disciplines and educates his 
children, he causes only a temporary suffering. In this case, " He 
will not keep his anger forever." Ps. ciii. 9. But when, as the Su- 
prenr.e Judge, he punishes rebellious and guilty subjects of his gov- 
ernment, he causes an endless suffering. In this case, " their worm 
dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Mark ix. 48. 

The real question therefore, is, whether God ever punishes. 
That he chastises, is not disputed. But does he ever inflict a suf- 
fering that is not intended to reform the transgressor, and does not 
reform him, but is intended simply and only to vindicate law, and 
satisfy justice, by requiting him for his transgression ? Revelation 
teaches that he does. "Vengeance is mine ; I will repay, saith the 
Lord." Rom. xii. 19. Retribution is here asserted to be a func- 
tion of the Supreme Being, and his alone. The creature has no 
right to punish, except as he is authorized by the Infinite Ruler. 
" The powers that be are ordained of God. The ruler is the min- 
ister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth 
evil." Rom. xiii. i, 4. The power which civil government has to 
punish crime — the private person having no such power — is only a 
delegated right from the Source of retribution. Natural religion, 
as well as revealed, teaches that God inflicts upon the voluntary 
transgressor of law a suffering that is purely vindicative of law. 
The pagan sages enunciate the doctrine, and it is mortised into the 
moral constitution of man, as is proved by his universal fear of 
retribution. The objection, that a suffering not intended to reform 
but to satisfy justice, is cruel and unworthy of God, is refuted by 
the question of St. Paul : " Is God unrighteous who taleth ven- 
geance ? God forbid : for how then shall God judge the world i" 


Rom. iii. 5, 6. It is impossible cither to found or administer a gov- 
ernment, in heaven or upon earth, unless the power to punish crime 
is conceded. 

The endlessness of future punLshmcnt, then, is implied in the 
endlessness of guilt and condemnation. When a crime is condemn- 
ed, it is absurd to ask, " How long is it condemned ?" The verdict 
"Guilty for ten days" was Hibernian. Damnation means absolute 
and everlasting damnation. All suffering in the next life, there- 
fore, of which the sufficient and justifying reason is guilt, must con- 
tinue as long as the reason continues ; and the reason is everlasting;. 
If it be righteous to-day, in God's retributive justice, to smite the 
transgressor because he violated the law yesterday, it is righteou> 
to do the same thing to-morrow, and the next day, and so on AD 
INFINITUM; because the state of the case AD INFINITUM re- 
mains unaltered. The guilt incurred yesterday is a standing and 
endless fact. What, therefore, guilt legitimates this instant, it le- 
gitimates every instant, and forever. 

It may be objected that, though the guilt and damnation of a 
crime be endless, it does not follow that the suffering inflicted on 
account of it must be endless also, even though it be retributive 
and not reformatory in its intent. A human judge pronounces a 
theft to be endlessly a theft, and a thief to be endlessly a thief, but 
he does not sentence the thief to an endless suffering, though he 
sentences him to a penal suffering. But this objection overlooks 
the fact that human punishment is only approximate and imper- 
fect, not absolute and perfect like the Divine. It is not adjusted 
exactly and precisely to the whole guilt of the offense, but is more 
or less modified, first, by not considering its relation to God's honor 
and majesty ; secondly, by human ignorance of the inward motives; 
and, thirdly, by social expediency. Earthly courts and judges look 
at the transgression of law with reference only to man's temporal 
relations, not his eternal. They punish an offense as a crime 
against the State, not as a sin against God. Neither do they look 


into the human heart, and estimate crime in its absolute and intrin- 
sic nature, as does the Searcher of Hearts and the Omniscient 

A human tribunal punishes mayhem, we will say, with six 
months' imprisonment, because it does not take into consideration 
either the malicious and wicked anger that prompted the maiming, 
or the dishonor done to the Supreme Being by the transgression of 
his commandment. But Christ, in the final assize, punishes this 
offense endlessly, because his All-seeing view includes the sum-total 
of guilt in the case ; namely, the inward wrath, the outward act, 
and the relation of both to the infinite perfection and adorable 
majesty of God. The human tribunal does not punish the inward 
anger at all ; the Divine tribunal punishes it with hell fire : " For 
whosoever shall say to his brother. Thou fool, is in danger of hell 
fire." Matt. v. 22. The human tribunal punishes seduction with a 
pecuniary fine, because it does not take cognizance of the selfish 
and heartless lust that prompted it, or of the affront offered to that 
Immaculate Holiness which from Sinai proclaimed. "Thou shalt 
not commit adultery." But the Divine tribunal punishes seduction 
with an infinite suffering, because of its more comprehensive and 
truthful view of the whole transaction. 

Again, human punishment, unlike the Divine, is variable and 
inexact, because it is to a considerable extent reformatory and pro- 
tective. Human government is not intended tu do the work of 
the Supreme Ruler. The sentence of an earthly judge is not a 
substitute for that of the last day. Consequently, human punish- 
ment need not be marked, even if this were possible, with all that 
absoluteness and exactness of justice which characterizes the Di- 
vine. Justice in the human sphere maybe relaxed by expediency. 
The retributive element must, indeed, enter into human punish- 
ment ; for no man may be punished by a human tribunal unless 
he deserves punishment — unless he is a criminal. But retribution 
is not the sole element when man punishes. Man, while not over- 



looking^ the guilt in the case, has some reference to the reformation 
of the offender, and still more to the protection of society. Civil 
expediency and social utility modify exact and strict retribution. 
For the sake of reforming the criminal, the judge sometimes inflicts 
a penalty that is less than the real guilt of the offense. For the 
sake of protecting society, the court sometimes sentences the crim- 
inal to a suffering greater than his crime deserves. Human tribu- 
nals, also, vary the punishment for the same offense — sometimes 
punishing forgery capitally, and sometimes not ; sometimes sen- 
tencing those guilty of the same kind of theft to one year's impris- 
onment, and sometimes to two. 

But the Divine tribunal, in the last great day, is invariably and 
exactly just, because it is neither reformatory nor protective. Hell 
is not a penitentiary. It is righteous retribution, pure and simple, 
unmodified by considerations either of utility to the criminal, or of 
safety to the universe. Christ, in the day of final account, will not 
punish wicked men and devils (for the two receive the same sen- 
tence, and go to the same place, Matt. xxv. 41), either for the sake 
of reforming them, or of protecting the righteous from the wicked. 
His punishment at that time will be nothing but retribution. The 
redeemer of men is also the Eternal Judge ; the Lamb of God is 
also the Lion of the tribe of Judah ; and his righteous word to 
wicked and hardened Satan, to wicked and hardened Judas, to 
wicked and hardened Pope Alexander VI., will be : " Vengeance is 
mine ; I will repay. Depart from me, ye cursed, that work ini- 
quity." Rom. xii. 19 ; Matt. xxv. 41 ; vii. 23. The wicked will 
reap according as they have sown. The suffering will be unerring- 
ly adjusted to the intrinsic guilt : no greater and no less than the 
sin deserves. " That servant which knew his lord's will (clearly), 
and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes ; 
but he that knew not (clearly), and did commit things worthy of 
stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. As many as have sinned 
without (written) law, shall also perish without (written) law ; and 


as many as have sinned under (written) law, shall be judged by 
the (written) law." Luke xii. 47, 48 ; Rom. ii. 12. 

It is because the human court, by reason of its ignorance both 
of the human heart and the true nature of sin against a spiritual 
law and a holy God, cannot do the perfect work of the Divine trib- 
unal, that human laws and penalties are only provisional, and not 
final. Earthly magistrates are permitted to modify and relax pen- 
alty, and pass a sentence which, though adapted to man's earthly 
circumstances, is not absolute and perfect, and is finally to be re- 
vised and made right by the omniscient accuracy ot God. The 
human penalty that approaches nearest to the Divine is capital 
punishment. There is more of the purely retributive element in 
this than in any other. The reformatory element is wanting. And 
this punishment has a kind of endlessness. Death is a finality. It 
forever separates the murderer from earthly society, even as future 
punishment separates forever from the society of God and heaven. 

The argument thus far goes to prove that retribution in distinc- 
tion from correction, or punishment in distinction from chastise- 
ment, is endless from the nature of the case. We pass, now, to 
prove that it is also rational and right. 

I. Endless punishment is rational, in the first place, because it 
is supported by the human conscience. The sinner's own conscience 
will " bear witness " and approve of the condemning sentence, " in 
the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." 
Rom. ii. 16. Dives, in the parable, when reminded of the justice of 
his suffering, is silent. Accordingly, all the evangelical creeds say 
with the Westminster (Larger Catechism, 89) that "the wicked, 
upon clear evidence and full conviction of their own consciences, 
shall have the just sentence of condemnation pronounced against 
them." If in the great day there are any innocent men who have 
no accusing consciences, they will escape hell. We may accommo- 
date St. Paul's words, Rom. xiii. 3,4, and say : -'The final judgment 
is not a terror to good works but to evil. Wilt thou, then, not be 


afraid of the final judgment ? Keep the law of God perfectly, with- 
out a single slip or failure, inwardly or outwardly, and thou shalt 
have praise of the same. But if thou do that which is evil, be 
afraid." But a sentence that is justified by the highest and best 
part of the human constitution must be founded in reason, justice, 
and truth. It is absurd to object to a judicial decision that is con- 
firmed by the man's own immediate consciousness of its righteous- 
ness. And, as matter of fact, the opponent of endless retribution 
does not draw his arguments from the impartial conscience, but 
from the bias of self-lo\^e and desire for happiness. His objections 
are not ethical, but sentimental. They are not seen in the dry 
light of pure truth and reason, but through the colored medium of 
-elf-indulgence and love of ease and sin. 

Again : a guilty conscious expects endless punishment. There 
is in it what the Scripture denominates " the fearful looking-for of 
judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries " 
of God. Hebrew x. 27. This is the awful apprehension of an evil 
that is to last forever ; otherwise, it would not be so " fearful." 
The knowledge that future suffering will one day cease would im- 
mediately relieve the awful apprehension of the sinner. A guilty 
conscience is in its very nature hopeless. Impenitent men, in their 
remorse, "sorrow as those who have no hope," 1st Thess. iv. 13 ; 
"having no hope, and without God in the world." Eph. ii. 12. " The 
hope of the wicked shall be as the giving up of the ghost." Job xi. 
20. "The hypocrite's hope shall perish." Job viii. 13. Conse- 
quently, the great and distinguishing element in hell-torment is 
despair, a feeling that is simply impossible in any man or fallen 
angel who knows that he is finally to be happy forever. Despair 
results from the endlessness of retribution. No endlessness, no 
despair. Natural religion, as well as revealed, teaches the despair 
of some men in the future life. Plato (Gorgias 525), Pindar 
(Olympia II.), Plutarch (De sera vindicta), describe the punishment 
of the incorrigibly wicked as eternal and hopeless. 


In Scripture, there is no such thing as eternal hope. Hope is 
a characteristic of earth and time only. Here in this life, all men 
may hope for forgiveness. / Turn, ye prisoners of hope." Zech. 
ix. 2. " Now is the accepted time ; now is the day of salvation." 
2 Cor. vi. 2. But in the next world there is no hope of any kind, 
because there is either fruition or despair. The Christian's hope is 
converted into its realization : " For what a man seeth, why doth 
he yet hope for it?" Rom. viii. 24. And the impenitent sinner's 
hope of heaven is converted into despair. Canon Farrar's phrase 
" eternal hope " is derived from Pandora's box, not from the Bible. 
Dante's legend over the portal of hell is the truth : •' All hope 
abandon, ye who enter here." 

That conscience supports endless retribution, is also evinced by 
the universality and steadiness of the dread of it. Mankind believe 
in hell, as they believe in the Divine Existence, by reason of their 
moral sense. Notwithstanding all the attack made upon the tenet 
in every generation, by a fraction of every generation, men do not 
get fid of their fear of future punishment. Skeptics themselves are 
sometimes distressed by it. But a permanent and general fear 
among mankind cannot be produced by a mere chimera, or a pure 
figment of the imagination. Men have no fear of Rhadamanthus, 
nor can they be made to fear him, because they know that there is 
no such being. " An idol is nothing in the world." i Cor. viii. 4. 
But men have "the fearful looking-for of judgment" from the lips 
of God, ever and always. If the Biblical hell were as much a non- 
entity as the heathen Atlantis, no one would waste his time in 
endeavoring to prove its non-existence. What man would seriously 
construct an argument to demonstrate that there is no such being 
as Jupiter Ammon, or such an animal as the centaur ? The very 
denial of endless retribution evinces by its spasmodic eagerness and 
effort to disprove the tenet, the firmness with which it is entrenched 
in man's moral constitution. If there really were no hell, absolute 
indifference toward the notion would long since have been the 


mood of all mankind, and no arguments, cither for or against it, 
would be constructed. 

And finally, the demand, even here upon earth, for the punish- 
ment of the intensely and incorrigibly wicked proves that retribu- 
tion is grounded in the human conscience When abominable and 
Satanic sin is temporarily triumphant, as it sometimes has been in 
the history of the world, men cry out to God for his vengeance to 
come down. " If there were no God, we should be compelled to 
invent one," is now a familiar sentiment. " If there were no hell, 
we should be compelled to invent one," is equally true. When ex- 
amples of great depravity occur, man cries : " How long, O Lord, 
how long?" The non-infliction of retribution upon hardened 
villainy and successful cruelty causes anguish in the moral sense. 
For the expression of it, read the imprecatory psalms and Milton's 
sonnet on the massacre in Piedmont. 

2. In the second place, endless punishment is rational, because 
of the endlessness of sin. I i the preceding view of the relation of 
penalty to guilt be correct, endless punishment is just, without 
bringing the sin of the future world into the account. Man incurs 
everlasting punishment for " the things done in his body." Cor. 
v. lO. Christ sentences men to perdition, not for what they are 
going to do in eternity, but lor what they have already done in 
time. It is not necessary that a man should commit all kinds of 
sin, or that he should sin a very long time, in order to be a sinner. 
" Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, 
he is guilty of all." James ii. lo. One sin makes guilt, and guilt 
makes hell. 

But while this is so, it is a fact to be observed, that sin is actually 
being added to sin, in the future life, and the amount of guilt is 
accumulating. The lost spirit is " treasuring up wrath." Rom. ii. 5. 
Hence, there are degrees in the intensity of endless suffering. The 
difference in the grade arises from the greater resoluteness of the 
wicked self-determination, and the greater degree of light that was 


enjoyed upon earth. He who sins against the moral law as it is 
drawn out in the Sermon on the Mount, sins more determinedly and 
desperately than the pagan who sins against the light of nature. 
There are probably no men in paganism who sin so wilfully and 
devilishly as some men in Christendom. Profanity, or the blas- 
pheming of God, is a Christian and not a Heathen characteristic. 
There are degrees in future suffering, because it is infinite in dura- 
tion only. In intensity, it is finite. Consequently, the lost do not 
all suffer precisely alike, though all suffer the same length of time. 
A thing may be infinite in onfe respect and finite in others. A line 
may be infinite in Length, and not in breadth and depth. A surface 
may be infinite in length and breadth, and not in depth. And two 
persons may suffer infinitely in the sense of endlessly, and yet one 
experience more pain than the other. 

The endlessness of sin results, first, from the nature and energy 
of sinful self-determination. Sin is the creature's act solely. God 
does not work in the human will when it wills antagonistically to 
him. Consequently, self-determination to evil is an extremely ve- 
hement activity of the will. There is no will so wilful as a wicked 
will. Sin is stubborn and obstinate in its nature, because it is 
enmity and rebellion. Hence, wicked will intensifies itself perpet- 
ually. Pride, left to itself, increases and never diminishes. Enmity 
and hatred become more and more satanic. " Sin," says South, "is 
the only perpetual motion which has yet been found out, and needs 
nothing but a beginning to keep it incessantly going on." Upon 
this important point, Aristotle, in the seventh book of his Ethics, 
reasons with great truth and impressiveness. He distinguishes be- 
tween strong will to wickedness and weak self-indulgence. The 
former is viciousness from deliberation and preference, and implies 
an intense determination to evil in the man. He goes wrong, not 
so much from the pull of appetite and passion, as purposely, know- 
ingly, and energetically. He has great strength of will, and he 
puts it all forth in resolute wickedness. The latter quality is more 


the absence than the presence of will ; it is the weakness and irre- 
solution of a man who has no powerful self-determination of any- 
kind. The condition of the former of these two men, Aristotle 
regarded as worse than that of the latter. He considered it to 
be desperate and hopeless. The evil is incurable. Repentance 
and reformation are impossible to this man ; for the wickedness 
in this instance is not mere appetite ; it is a principle ; it is cold- 
blooded and total depravity. 

Another reason for the endlessness of sin is the bondage of the 
sinful will. In the very act of transgressing the law of God, there 
is a reflex action of the human will upon itself, whereby it becomes 
unable to perfectly keep that law. Sin is the suicidal action of the 
human will. A man is not forced to kill himself, but if he does, he 
cannot bring himself to life again. And a man is not forced to sin, 
but if he does, he cannot of himself get back where he was before 
sinning. He cannot get back to innocency, nor can he get back 
to holiness of heart. The effect of vicious habit in diminishing a 
man's ability to resist temptation is proverbial. An old and hard- 
ened debauchee, like Tiberius or Louis XV., just going into the 
presence of Infinite Purity, has not so much power of active resist- 
ance against the sin that has now ruined him, as the youth has 
who is just beginning to run that awful career. The truth and 
fact is, that sin, in and by its own nature and operation, tends to 
destroy all virtuous force, all holy energy, in any moral being. The 
excess of will to sin is the same thing as defect of will to holiness. 
The human will cannot be forced and ruined from without. But 
if we watch the influence of the will upon itself; the influence of 
its own wrong decisions, and its own yielding to temptations ; we 
shall find that the voluntary faculty may be ruined from within — 
may surrender itself with such an absorbing vehemence and totality 
to appetite, passion, and selfishness, that it becomes unable to re- 
verse itself and overcome its own inclination and self-determination. 
And yet, from beginning to end, there is no compulsion in this 


process. The transgressor follows himself alone. He has his own 
way, and does as he likes. Neither God, nor the world, nor Satan 
forces him either to be, or to do, evil. Sin is the most spontaneous 
of self-motion. But self-motion has consequences as much as any 
other motion. And moral bondage is one of them. " Whosoever 
committeth sin is the slave of sin," says Christ. John viii. 34. 

The culmination of this bondage is seen in the next life. The 
.sinful propensity, being allowed to develop unresisted and un- 
checked, slowly but surely eats out all virtuous force as rust eats 
out a steel spring, until in the awful end the will becomes all habit, 
all lust, and all sin. " Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." 
James i. 15. In the final stage of this, which commonly is 
not reached until death, when " the spirit returns unto God who 
gave it," the guilty free agent reaches that dreadful condition where 
resistance to evil ceases altogether, and surrender to evil becom.ei 
demoniacal. The cravings and hankerings of long-indulged and 
unresisted sin become organic, and drag the man ; and " he goeth 
after them as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the cor- 
rection of the stocks — till a dart strike through his liver." Prov. 
vii. 22, 23. For though the will to resist may die out of a man, the 
conscience to condemn it never can. This remains eternally. And 
when the process is complete ; when the responsible creature in the 
abuse of free agency has perfected his moral ruin ; when his will 
to good is all gone ; there remain these two in his immortal spirit 
— sin and conscience, " brimstone and fire." Rev. xxi. 8. 

Still another reason for the endlessness of sin is the fact that 
rebellious enmity toward law and its Source is not diminished, but 
increased, by the righteous punishment experienced by the impeni- 
tent transgressor. Penal suffering is beneficial only when it is 
humbly accepted, is acknowledged to be deserved, and is penitently 
submitted to ; when the transgressor says : " Father, I have sinned, 
and am no more worthy to be called thy son ; make me as one of 


tliy hired ser\-ants ;" Luke xv. i8, 19; when, with the penitent 
thief, he saj-s : " We are in this condemnation justly ; for we receive 
the due reward of our deeds." Luke xxiii. 41. But when in this 
h'fe retribution is denied and jeered at ; and when in the next Hfe 
it is complained of and resisted, and the arm of hate and defiance 
is raised against the tribunal, penalty hardens and exasperates. 
This is impenitence. Such is the temper of Satan ; and such is the 
temper of all who finally become his associates. This explains why 
there is no repentance in hell, and no meek submission to the 
Supreme Judge. This is the reason why Dives, the impenitent sen- 
sualist, is informed that there is no possible passage from Hades to 
Paradise, by reason of the " great gulf fixed " between the two ; and 
this is the reason why he asks that Lazarus may be sent to warn 
his five brethren, "lest they also come into this place of torment," 
where the request for " a drop of water," — a mitigation of punish- 
ment — is solemnly refused by the Eternal Arbiter. A state of 
existence in which there is not the slightest relaxing of penal suf- 
fering, is no state of probation. 

3. In the third place, endless punishment is rational, because 
sin is an infinite evil ; infinite not because committed by an infinite 
i)eing, but against one. We reason invariably upon this principle. 
To torture a dumb beast is a crime ; to torture a man is a greater 
crime. The person who transgresses is the same in each instance ; 
but the different worth and dignity of the objects upon whom his 
action terminates makes the difference in the gravity of the two 
offenses. David's adultery was a finite evil in reference to Uriah, 
but an infinite evil in reference to God. " Against thee only have 
I sinned," was the feeling of the sinner in this case. Had the patri- 
arch Joseph yielded, he would have sinned against Pharaoh. But 
I'ne greatness of the sin as related to the fellow-creature is lost in 
its enormity as related to the Creator, and his only question is: 
" How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God ?" 
Gen. xxxix. 9. 


The incarnation and vicarious satisfaction for sin by one of the 
persons of the Godhead demonstrates the infinity of the evil. It is 
incredible that the Eternal Trinity should have submitted to such 
a stupendous self-sacrifice, to remove a merely finite and temporal 
evil. The doctrine of Christ's vicarious atonement, logically, stands 
or falls with that of endless punishment. Historically, it has stood 
or fallen with it. The incarnation of Almighty God, in order to 
make the remission of sin possible, is one of the strongest argu- 
ments for the eternity and infinity of penal suffering. 

The objection that an offence committed in a finite time cannot 
be an infinite evil, and deserve an infinite suffering, implies that 
crime must be measured by the time that was consumed in its per- 
petration. But even in human punishment, no reference is had to 
the length of time occupied in the commission of the offense. Mur- 
der is committed in an instant, and theft sometimes requires hours. 
But the former is the greater crime, and receives the greater pun- 

4. That endless punishment is reasonable is proved by the 
preference of the wicked themselves. The unsubmissive, rebellious, 
defiant, and impenitent spirit prefers hell to heaven. Milton cor- 
rectly represents Satan as saying : " All good to me becomes bane, 
and in heaven much worse would be my state " ; and, also, as de- 
claring that " it is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven." 
This agrees with the Scripture representation, that Judas went " to 
his own place." Acts i. 25. 

The lost spirits are not forced into a sphere that is unsuited to 
them. There is no other abode in the universe which they would 
prefer to that to which they are assigned, because the only other 
abode is heaven. The meekness, lowliness, sweet submission to 
God, and love of him, that characterize heaven, are more hateful to 
Lucifer and his angels than even the sufferings of hell. The wicked 
would be no happier in heaven than in hell. The burden and an- 


guish of a guilty conscience, says South, is so insupportable that 
some " have done violence to their own lives, and so fled to hell as 
a sanctuary, and chose damnation as a release." This is illustrated 
by facts in human life. The thoroughly vicious and ungodly man 
prefers the license and freedom to sin which he finds in the haunts 
of vice to the restraints and purity of Christian society. There' is 
hunger, disease, and wretchedness in one circle ; and there is plenty, 
health, and happiness in the other. But he prefers the former. He 
would rather be in the gambling-house and brothel than in the 
Christian home. 

The finally lost are not to be conceived of as having faint de- 
sires and aspirations for a holy and heavenly state and as feebly 
but really inclined to sorrow for their sin, but are kept in hell con- 
trary to their yearning and petition. They are sometimes so 
described by the opponent of the doctrine, or at least so thought 
of. There is not a single throb of godly sorrow or a single pulsa- 
tion of holy desire in the lost spirit. The temper toward God in 
the lost is angry and defiant. " They hate both me and my Father," 
says the Son of God, "without a cause." John xv. 24, 25. Satan 
and his followers " love darkness rather than light," hell rather than 
heaven, " because their deeds are evil." John iii. 19. Sin ultimatel\' 
assumes a fiendish form and degree. It is pure wickedness without 
regret or sorrow, and with a delight in evil for evil's sake. There 
are some men who reach this state of depravity even before they 
die. They are seen in the callous and cruel voluptuaries portra)'ed 
by Tacitus, and the heaven-defying atheists described by St. Simon. 
They are also depicted in Shakespeare's lago. The reader knows 
that lago is past saving, and deserves everlasting damnation. Im- 
pulsively, he cries out with Lodovico : "Where is that viper? bring 
the villain forth." And then Othello's calmer but deeper feeling be- 
comes his own : " I look down towards his feet — but that's a fable : 
If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee." The punishment is 
remitted to the retribution of God. 


5. That endless punishment is rational, is proved by the history 
of morals. In the history of human civilization and morality, it is 
found that that age which is most reckless of law, and most vicious 
in practice, is the age that has the loosest conception of penalty, 
and is the most inimical to the doctrine of endless retribution. A 
virtuous and religious generation adopts sound ethics, and rever- 
ently believes that " the Judge of all the earth will do right," Gen. 
xviii. 25 ; that God will not "call evil good, and good evil, nor put 
darkness for light and light for darkness," Isa. v. 20 ; and that it is 
a deadly error to assert with the sated and worn-out sensualist ; 
" All things come alike to all ; there is one event to the righteous 
and the wicked." Eccl. ix. 2. 

The French people, at the close of the last century, were a very 
demoralized and vicious generation, and there was a very general 
disbelief and denial of the doctrines of the Divine existence, the 
immortality of the soul, the freedom of the will, and future retribu- 
tion. And upon a smaller scale, the same fact is continually 
repeating itself. Any little circle of business men who are known 
to deny future rewards and punishments are shunned by those who 
desire safe investments. The recent uncommon energy of opposi- 
tion to endless punishment, which started about ten years ago in 
this country, synchronized with great defalcations and breaches of 
trust, uncommon corruption in mercantile and political life, and 
great distrust between man and man. Luxury deadens the moral 
sense, and luxurious populations are not apt to have the fear of 
God before their eyes. Hence luxurious ages are immoral. 

One remark remains to be made respecting the extent and scope 
of hell. It is only a spot in the universe of God. Compared with 
heaven, hell is narrow and limited. The kingdom of Satan is insig- 
nificant in contrast with the kingdom of Christ. In the immense 
range of God's dominion, good is the rule, and evil is the exception. 
Sin is a speck upon the infinite azure of eternity ; a spot on the 
sun. Hell is only a corner of the universe. The Gothic etymon 


denotes a covered-up hole. In Scripture, hell is a "pit," a "lake;" 
not an ocean. It is "bottomless," but not boundless. 

The Gnostic and Dualistic theories, which make God and Satan 
or the Demiurge nearly equal in power and dominion, find no sup- 
port in Revelation. The Bible teaches that there will always be 
some sin and some death in the universe. Some angels and men 
will forever be the enemies of God. But their number, compared 
with that of unfallen angels and redeemed men, is small. They arc 
not described in the glowing language and metaphors by which the 
immensity of the holy and blessed is delineated. "The chariots of 
God are twenty thousand, and thousands of angels." Ps. Ixviii. 17. 
"The Lord came from Sinai, and shined forth from Mount Paran, 
and he came with ten thousands of his saints." Deut. xxxii. 2. 
"The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and his king- 
dom ruleth over all." Ps. ciii. 21. " Thine is the kingdom, and the 
power, and the glory." Matt. vi. 13. The Lord Christ "must reign 
till he hath put all enemies under his feet." i Cor. xv. 25. St. 
John "heard a voice from heaven as the voice of many waters, and 
as the voice of a great thunder." Rev. xiv. i. The New Jerusalem 
" lieth four square, the length is as large as the breadth ; the gates 
of it shall not be shut at all by day ; the kings of the earth do 
bring their honor into it." Rev. xxi. 16, 24, 25. The number o; 
the lost spirits is never thus emphasized and enlarged upon. The 
brief, stern statement is that " the fearful and unbelieving shall 
have their part in the lake that burnetii with fire and brimstone." 
Rev. xxi. 8. No metaphors and amplifications are added to make 
the impression of an immense " multitude which no man can 

We have thus briefly presented the rational defense of the most 
severe and unwelcome of all the tenets of the Christian religion. 
It must have a foothold in the human reason, or it could not have 
maintained itself against all the recoil and opposition which it ilicits 
from the human heart. Founded in ethics, in law, and in judicial 


reason, as well as unquestionably taught by the Author of Chris- 
tianity, it is no wonder that the doctrine of eternal retribution, in 
spite of selfish prejudices and appeals to human sentiment, has al- 
ways been a belief of Christendom. From theology and philosophy 
it has passed into human literature, and is wrought into its finest 
structures. It makes the solemn ^jbstance of the Iliad and the 
Greek Drama. It pours a somber light into the brightness and 
grace of the ^neid. It is the theme of the Inferno, and is presup- 
posed by both of the other parts of the Divine Comedy. The epic 
of Milton derives from it its awful grandeur. And the greatest of 
the Shakespearean tragedies sound and stir the depths of the hu- 
man soul by their delineation of guilt intrinsic and eternal. 

In this discussion, we have purposely brought into view only 
the righteousness of Almighty God, as related to the voluntary and 
responsible action of man. We have set holy justice and disobe- 
dient free-will face to face, and drawn the conclusions. This is all 
that the defender of the doctrine of retribution is strictly concerned 
with. If he can demonstrate that the principles of eternal rectitude 
are not in the least degree infringed upon, but are fully maintained, 
when sin is endlessly punished, he has done all that his problem 
requires. Whatever is just is beyond all rational attack. 

But with the Christian Gospel in his hands, the defender of the 
Divine justice finds it difficult to be entirely reticent and say not a 
word concerning the Divine mercy. Over against God's infinite 
antagonism and righteous severity toward moral evil there stands 
God's infinite pity and desire to forgive. This is realized, not by 
the high-handed and unprincipled method of pardoning without 
legal satisfaction of any kind, but by the strange and stupendous 
method of putting the Eternal Judge in the place of the human 
criminal ; of substituting God's satisfaction for that due from man. 
In this vicarious atonement for sin, the Triune God relinquishes no 
claims of law, and waives no rights to justice. The sinner's Divine 


Subslitutc, in his hour of voluntary agony and death, drinks tlie 
:up of punitive and inexorable justice to the dregs. Any man 
who, in penitent faith, avails himself of this vicarious method of 
setting himself right with the Eternal Nemesis, will find that it 
succeeds ; but he who rejects it must through endless cycles grap- 
ple with the dread problem of human guilt in his own person, and 
alone. — (North American Review, February, 1885.J 




" It is appointed unto men once to clic, but after that i\\2 

" He that is unjust, let him be unjust still ; and he that is filthy, 
let him be filthy still ; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous 
still ; and he that is holy, let him be holy still." 

" The life which is, and that which is to come. 
Suspended hang in such nice equipoise, 
A breath disturbs the balance ; and that scale 
In which wc throw our hearts preponderates." 


f^^% HE theory of Probationists, as already briefly JcfinecT, is 
i,j;0 as follovvr. : Not that all men will be saved, but that 

xsm those who die impenitent will have a second chance, 
and that those who do not improve it will fall into 
eternal sin and go into eternal punishment. Men may thus 
'^^ secure the pardon after death which they failed to secure 
while they lived on earth. 

This theory differs from the Optimistic — the view held by such 
men as Canon Farrar — which gives no opinion whatever as to the 
ultimate fate of impenitent sinners, beyond indulging in the hope that 
in some way they shall at last be freed from the punishment due 
their sins. The Probationists on the other hand hold that being 
in utter ignorance whether any soul has gone too far for recovery, 
and whether chastisement continued for a longer or shorter period 
may not force the most incorrigible to yield, we ought not to re- 
strict repentance and pardon to the present existence, but that if 
this second chance be not improved the everlasting destruction of 
such sinners is certain. It agrees with the Roman Catholic doc- 
trine of purgatory, in so far as it believes in a purifying and disci- 
plining process after death, but it differs in this important point, 
that Purgatory is only reserved for such as die in peace, but not in 
that perfect condition which makes them meet for heaven. 

Purgatory is a condition of suffering and the commonly received 
traditional doctrine is, that the suffering is of the nature of material 
fire. The design is expiation of sin and purification of soul. The 


intensity and duration of purgatorial pains are proportioned to the 
degree of guilt of the individual sufferers. The soul may remain 
in this state for a few hours, or for a thousand years — the only limit 
being the da)- of judgment. The sufferings of the departed may 
liowever, be alleviated, and their duration shortened by the prayers 
of saints and the sacrifice of the mass : and it is within the power 
of the church, through her authorized clergy, to remit entirely or 
partially the penalty of sins under which souls are suffering. Many 
eminent Roman Catholic writers make no mention whatever of 
positive suffering, or of the commonly received idea that purgatory 
consists in bodily torment, and represent it simply "as a state of 
'gradual preparation of the imperfectly sanctified for admission into 

Probationists differ as to when probation is to end. The major- 
ity leave the question as insoluble, while others fix the limit of 
probation by the second coming of the Lord and the final judgment. 
The last named view has been recently set forth by the Rev. Dr. 
Clement Clemance of Camberwell, London, in his little v^olume on 
Future Punishment. He rejects the theory of universal restoration, 
as entirely against scripture ; — of annihilation, as a distortion of 
scripture ; — of the absolute endlessness of suffering and sin, as going 
beyond scripture ; and endeavors to show that the doctrine of 
human probation, ending with the second coming of Christ, is the 
most reasonable and scriptural of all. The following extracts will 
show his train of thought : — " Every soul of man will sooner or later 
be brought into contact with Christ for acceptance or rejection, be- 
fore His second coming. No human probation can be finished, 
until the man knows of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the des- 
tinies of human souls. If God's equity requires it, the probation of 
some men may be extended beyond the moment of their crossing 
the boundary line, which divides this state of being from the next. 
There is a period, called "the day of salvation," in which mercy 
may be obtained," but that da)- or period has its limit. The " day 


of salvation," for the human race as a whole, will last till the second 
coming of the Son of God. The phrase is applied by Paul to the 
present gospel day. The time of gospel blessing commenced on 
the day of Pentecost, and reaches on to " the great and terrible day 
of the Lord." Meanwhile, " whosoever shall call on the name of 
the Lord shall be saved." The wheat and tares are to grow together 
till the harvest, and the harvest is the end of the world. The me- 
diatorial dominion of Christ over the whole human race, will last 
till the time of his reappearing. But that government of His is 
much more elsewhere than here. He is Lord both of the dead and 
of the living. The millions now dwelling on earth are but a frac- 
tion, a tiny fraction, of those under His sway. Of every soul that 
is gone hence, from Adam till now, " Jesus Christ is Lord," and 
each part of this double realm of His, He is governing with a view 
to the judgment day. That is the great decisive day for all man- 
kind. The gospel news will then have resounded through both 
realms, and through both realms the " trumpet shall sound." Then 
" the day of salvation " will have reached its close. Ere then, every 
soul will have heard of Christ ; but it may be that even up to the 
last moment, human spirits will be brought into existence, and up 
to the very close of the gospel " day," mercy's door will stand open 
for each new-born child of man ! 

There is no principle developed more clearly in the word of 
God than this — that individuals are on probation. But who can 
tell how long the probation of the individual will last? It is quite 
possible that the probation of the individual may close before the 
termination of his natural life ! Judas is a typical example of such 
a case. He had been, surely as much as ever man could be, in 
close contact with the Lord Jesus, and yet before he had committed 
his deed of treachery, our Lord used concerning him the words, 
" Good were it for that man if he had not been born." Here then, 
was a man who ere the natural life had ceased in death, was "twice 
dead." He had sold himself to evil, sold himself away from Christ ; 


his day was over. A man's state may thus be fixed long before 
death — it is reached when the state of fixedness in sin is reached. 
Sin has its stages. Each stage of sin is marked by greater hard- 
ness and insensibiHty. The final stage of sin is hopelessly incurable. 
That stage marks probation's end. The man is then practically 
unreachable, as far as any means or agencies known to us are coi - 
cerned. He has fixed his own state, in an immovable obstinacy of 
resistance to the divine. It is not that God's springs of mercy are 
dry, but he has sinned so long and so grossly, that no appeals from 
God can call forth any penitential tears ! When such hopeless ir- 
curableness is reached, any further prolongation of probation is 
not asked for by the Great Intercessor. Under the administration 
of our Great Intercessor, sinners are spared long — but a time may 
come when sparing mercy avails not, and when not even the ten- 
derest pleader could ask for any arrest of judgment. 

Thus does the word of God bring into view the divine forbear- 
ance and equity. The limit of probation is not arbitrary. It is a 
limit of character, reached by the §inner himself in the spontaneous 
course of sin. It may or it may not coincide with the moment of 
death. It may, perchance, be reached afterwards. It certainly 
may be reached before. It is a spiritual limit rather than a tem- 
poral one ; a bound fixed not according to the ticks of a dial, but 
according to the state of a soul. When this limit will be reached 
by anyone, God only knows ; and it would be worse than madness 
for any one to make so perilous an experiment as to try how near 
he can reach it without overstepping it. So far from holding out 
to those who continue to resist the appeals of divine love any war- 
rant for supposing that their probation will continue indefinitely 
beyond death, we see far more reason to fear it will not last till 
then. What warrant have we for supposing the law of inveterate 
habitude reversed on the other side the grave ? Where any man 
longs for more light, and follows what light he has, we are not for- 
bidden to that the light for which he yearns will gleam in the 



invisible world, even if denied him in this ; but where a man re- 
fuses the Hght God sends him, he has not an atom of warrant for 
supposing that death will alter the habitudes of the soul." 

Our objections to Probationism hold equally good whether an 
indefinite period be given, or a limit fixed by the second coming of 
Christ, for the repentance and restoration of the sinner. It is not 
necessary to give in detail the arguments of evangelical christians 
against a future state of probation, which are similar to those 
against Universalism, to be considered hereafter. Suffice it to say 
that neither probationism or purgatory are taught in the word of 
God nor formed any part of Christs teachings or that of his apos- 
tles. On the contrary, both seem directly opposed to the entire 
spirit of Christianity, which makes salvation simply and entirely the 
result of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ without future probation — 
without the good works or prayers of saints, and without any 
amount of purgatorial suffering after death. Indeed, Cardinal 
Wiseman himself admits this as fully as any Protestant when he 
says : " No fastings, no prayers, no alms deeds, no works that we 
can conceive to be done by man, however protracted, however ex- 
pensive or rigorous they may be, can, according to the Catholic 
doctrine have the most infinitesimal weight for obtaining the re- 
mission of sin," although he adds, in justification of penance, that 
after God has forgiven sin, a certain degree of inferior or tempor- 
ary punishment must be inflicted, according to the guilt of the in- 
dividual transgressor, before full satisfaction is made to God 

It is also worthy of remark, that wherever men have been taught 
to believe, that there is the hope of probation and purification, by 
purgatorial fires or otherwise, they have become reckless and licen- 
tious. When Greek and Roman philosophy taught, that "the 
Gods do not punish," gross outbreaks of sin occured, to an extent 
unheard of before. Disastrous results followed to morality and 
religion, which lasted for centuries. History tells us that no subse- 
quent efforts could ever succeed in awakening a fear of divine pun- 


ishment, and the result was the deplorable dcc^encracy of the Roman 
Empire. " Truth and faith ceased, chastity became contemptible, 
perjury was practised without sham.e, and every species of excess 
and cruelty was indulged in." The sale of indulgences after the 
time of the crusades, led men to believe that exemption from the 
consequences and penalties of sin might be purchased. The result 
of rationalistic teachings during the reign of Charles II. in England, 
in emancipating the minds of the masses from all fear of future 
punishment was of a similar character. Immorality, impurity, law- 
lessness and practical atheism prevailed. The writings of Voltaire, 
Diderot and others in France, and afterwards in Germany, pro- 
duced the same effects upon society, until humanity was shocked 
by the hideous excesses of the age, sanctioned and enforced by the 
teachings of a deified but brutilised reason. Just as surely as men 
are taught that there is probation and purification of any kind after 
death, for sins committed in this body, will life be upon the lowest 
plane. " Once in the end of the world, NOT AFTER, has Christ ap- 
peared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." At the very 
best, the probationist is resting upon a painful uncertainty. He 
cannot be sure — no man can be sure — that there is opportunity 
after death for repentance, or that he could then use it to his own 
case with advantage. On the other hand, if it be even probable 
that death may end probation, surely the supreme dictate of wis- 
dom is to repent now? Nay further, if reason indicates that death 
will in all likelihood end probation, and the Scriptures teach em- 
phatically that it shall, surely the day of salvation and the accepted 
time should be improved ! The poison of sin cannot be eradicated 
by tears and sighs and the anguish of remorse. 

History tells us that Khaibar, a Jewish captive serving at the 
table of Mohammed, bore the false prophet a cup, in which was a 
mixture of deadly poison. Mohammed put the chalice to his lips, 
but tasting the poison dashed the deadly cup to the floor. But 
with that one sip. enough of the poison had entered his veins to 


affect him for life. Long after, at his death, he exclaimed, " The 
veins of my heart are throbbing with the poison of Khaibar." And 
so, the poison <^f s'n once throbbing in the spiritual life leaves not 
that life more easily, than did the poison of Khaibar that coursed 
in the very life blood of Mohammed. A new nature alone can 
expel the old. "Ye must be born again," says Christ, and experi- 
ence as well as sanctified reason coincides with the words of 

A good deal of the poetry of the age is as we have already seen, 
flavored with the idea of repentance beyond the grave. No poet 
is more frequently quoted than Whittier on moral and religious 
questions, who in 1867, wrote his now famous poem on "The 
Eternal Goodness :" 

" I know not where His islands lift 

Their fronded palms in air • 
I only know I cannot drift 

Beyond His love and care 
And so beside the silent sea 

I wait the muffled oar ; 
No harm from Him can come to me, 

On ocean or on shore," 

Whittier adds : 

" O brothers ! if my faith is vain, 
If hopes like these betray, 
Pray for me that my feet may gain 
The sure and safer way." 

So he sang ; but it is significant that when we turn on a year, 
in the mellowing ripeness of this poet's wisdom, we find a later pro- 
duction which is as yet only rarely quoted, but which seems to be 
the deepest voice of his final philosophy : 

"Though God be good and free be Heaven, 

No force divine can love compel ; 
And though the song of sins forgiven 

May sound through lowest hell, 


The sweet persuasion of His voice 

Respects thy sanctity of will ; 
lie givcth day : thou hast thy choice 

To walk in darkness still. 

No word of doom may shut thee out, 
No wind of wrath may downward whirl 

No swords of fire keep watch about 
The open gates of pearl. 

\ tenderer light than moon or sun. 

Than song of earth a sweeter hymn, 
May shine and sound forever on, 

And thou be deaf and dim. 

Forever round the Mercy-seat 

The guiding lights of love shall burn : 

But what if, habit-bound, thy feet 
Shall lack the will to turn ^ 

What if thine eye refuse to see. 

Thine ear of Heaven's free welcome fail. 

And thou a willing captive be. 
Thyself thy own dark jail ?" 

That is just what the scriptures teach of the doctrnic of future 

retribution. God's finger does not light the fires of hell ; ev^ery 

sinner makes his own hell. Remorse may scourge the soul, but all 

to no purpose : 

"Shall I kill myself? 
What help in that ? I cannot kill my sin, 
If soul be soul ; nor can I kill my shame ; 
No, nor by living can I live it down. 
The days will grow to weeks, the weeks to months, 
The months will add themselves and make the years, 
The years will roll into the centuries, 
And mine will ever be a name of scorn." 


F-^V NCI DENT ALLY, in discussing- Probationism, we have 
lR^Yi referred to the teachings of the Church of Rome con- 
cerning Purgatory. Although the object of this treatise 
# yi\ "^ ^^ "°^ ^° refute such views, but rather to estabhsh the 
^^P doctrine of Eternal Punishment as against Universalism, 
^ a statement of what the doctrine of Purgatory is, with the 

arguments used for and against it, may not be considered out of 
place by many of our readers. 

The Romish doctrine of endless retribution is very much what 
is held by the majority of evangelical churches : — that there is a 
hell, and there reprobate angels and lost men are eternally pun- 
ished. While not teaching authoritatively that future punishment 
will be physical, it inclines towards such a view, and asserts that it 
is dangerous to deny that it will be so. Absolutely to deny or to 
assert physical suffering, transcends our means of knowledge. In 
the present life pain of the soul wears on the body, so that the 
whole man is affected. In the future life, we cannot tell what may 
or may not be the reciprocal relation of the soul, and its non- 
material and indestructible body, so that physical suffering is by no 
means impossible.* 

Purgatory is a preparatory state for the enjoyment of heaven, 
where the souls of the righteous who have died in a state of grace, 

* For an authoritative statemeut of the views held by the Roman Gajtholic Church 
regarding " Eternal Punishment," the reader is referred to the statement of Archbiihop 
Lynch, to be found near the close of the volume. 


arc purified and made meet for everlasting bliss. As defined by 
Catholic writers : — It is a place or state, where souls departing this 
life, with remission of their sins, as to the guilt and eternal pain, but 
yet liable to some temporal punishment still remaining due; or not 
perfectly freed from the blemish of some defects which we call 
venial sins, are purged before their admittance into heaven, where 
nothing that is defiled can enter. It is further held, that such souls 
so detained in Purgatory, being the living members of Christ Jesus, 
are relieved by the prayers and suffrages of their fellow-members 
here on earth. But where this place may be — of what nature or 
quality the pain may be — how long souls may be there detained — 
in what manner the suffrages made on their behalf may be applied 
— whether by way of satisfaction or intercession, are questions 
superfluous and impertinent as to faith. In the " Orphan's Friend," 
a Catholic periodical published in Boston, U. S., for October, 1884, 
there is the following appeal for Holy Souls in Purgatory : 

" November, the month of the Holy Souls, is at hand. We trust 
our readers will do all they can during this month to solace these 
poor souls. It is in the power of all to help these spouses of Christ 
and open for them the doors of Heaven. Let those who have 
means have numerous masses offered for their relief, first, for their 
own friends and relatives, second, for the millions who have no one 
to pray for them or who have been forgotten by those most indebted 
to them, (the money thus spent will be returned a hundredfold). 
Let those who are poor in this world's goods give according to their 
means, and let all join prayer and the practice of good works to 
their alms. We especially recommend to the charitable prayers of 
our readers, the souls of deceased members, that they may soon 
reach the eternal rest they so ardently sigh for, and that once in 
Heaven, they may intercede for us." 

"In suffering, there is something sadder than suffering itself — 
abandonment. To suffer and find some one to sympathize, to be 
interested, to compassionate, — this is not the saddest suffering ; but 


to suffer and realize that no one shares our suffering by a sentiment, 
a thought, or a tear — to suffer and find no consolation — this is tor- 
ture multiplied by torture. And this it is that gives the sorrows of 
Purgatory a sovereign interest and the most legitimate compassion ; 
their sorrows are the most torsaken of all sorrows ; they can truly 
say, in the terrible reality of their abandonment : 'They have heard 
the voice of my groaning, and among them there is no one to 
console me.' " 

This is accompanied by certain verses, addressed to the Queen 
of Purgatory, in which the doctrine is set forth in poetic form : 

" O turn to Jesus, Mother ! turn 

And call Him by His tenderest names ; 
Pray for the Holy Souls that burn 
This hour amid the cleansing flames. 

Oh ! they have fought a gallant fight ! 

In death's cold arms they persevered ; 
And. after life's uncheery night. 

The harbor of their rest is neared. 

In pains beyond all earthly pains. 
Favorites of Jesus! there they lie. 

Letting the fire wear out their stains. 
And worshipping God's purity. 

Spouses of Christ they are, for He 
Was wedded to them by His blood ; 

And Angels o'er their destiny 
In wondering adoration brood. 

They are children of thy tears ; 

Then hasten, Mother ! to their aid 
In pity think each hour appears 

An Age while glory is delayed. 

See, how they bound amid their fires, 
While pain and love their spirits fill ; 

Then with self-crucified desires 
Utter sweet murmurs, and lie still. 


The doctrine of a purgatory it is only fair to add, is also held 
to be a necessity by such men as Canon Farrar, who says ; " I be- 
lieve that man's destiny stops not at the grave, and that many who 
knew not Christ here will know him there. I believe that here- 
after — whether by means of the almost sacrament of death," or in 
others ways unknown to us, God's mercy may reach many who to 
all earthly appearance, might seem to us to die in a lost and unre- 
generate state. I believe that Christ went and preached to the 
spirits in prison, and I see reason to hope, that since the Gospel 
was thus once preached " to them that were dead," the offers of 
God's mercy may in some form be extended to the soul, even after 
death. I believe as Christ has said, that all manner of sin shall 
be forgiven unto men, and their blasphemies however greatly they 
shall blaspheme, and that as there is but one sin of which he said, 
that it should not be forgiven neither in this world nor the next, 
there must be some sins, which will be forgiven in the next as well 
as this. Men do not pass direct from life to hell or heaven, but to 
a place in which God's merciful dealings with them are not yet 
necessarily finished, where his mercy may still reach them in the 
form, if not of probation, yet of preparation. As even Saints are 
not perfect, but are still sinners, so even sinners are very rarel)' — 
perhaps never fixed, finished and incurable in sin, when seized by 
their mortal sickness." The only difference between the purgatory 
of Canon Farrar and that of the Church of Rome is, that the former 
is for impenitent sinners, the latter for saints, who are saved yet so 
as by fire. Their salvation is not without pain. They undergo the 
pain of fire and are thus purified. 

The arguments adduced in favor of Purgatory are chiefly taken 
from the Fathers, the Councils, and the Liturgies of the Church, the 
Apocryphal writings, and certain passages of Scripture. It is only 
with the latter that we can briefly deal at present. 

Acts, chap. 2nd, v. 27 : " Because thou wilt not leave my soul 
in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy one to sec corruption." 


This, it is maintained, proves the existence of Purgatory, and is 
descriptive of the intermediate state where Christ sojourned for a 
time after his death upon the cross. But Christ's own language 
before he died — " Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" — 
and the words spoken to the dying malefactor, " To-day shalt thou 
be with me in paradise," are certainly, whatever they may mean, 
not applicable to Purgatorial fires. 

1st Corinthians, chap. 3rd, v. 1 1-15 : " For other foundation can 
no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any 
man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, 
hay, stubble ; Every man's work shall be made manifest ; for the 
day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire ; and the 
fire 'shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's 
work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss ; but he him- 
self shall be saved, yet so as by fire." That men are saved through 
fire, it is argued, proves the doctrine of Purgatory. But the Apostle, 
it should be observed, says the fire shall TRY EVERY MAN'S WORK. 
Purgatory is not for testing or trying, but for purifying, and that 
only for such as die in a state of grace. The fire spoken of is not 
a state preceding the judgment, but the judgment itself: it is that 
fire in the midst of which Jesus Christ is to appear. If the material 
used by any builder does not stand the test of that day, he will 
suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. "Just 
as a man escapes with his life, from a burning building, so his sal- 
vation will not only be affected with difficulty, but be attended with 
great loss. He will occupy a lower place in the kingdom of heaven 
than he would have done." "Saved so as by fire," is a figurative 
expression, analagous to that found in Zechariah, where Joshua is 
represented as a brand plucked out of the burning. In order to 
make such a passage teach the doctrine of Purgatory, we must con- 
tend that Joshua was literally a brand, and plucked out of the pains 
and fires of Purgatory ! 


Ephcsians chap. 4th, v. 9. " Now that he ascended, what is it 
hut that he also descended first into the lower part of the earth." 
The fact that the soul of Christ was in the unseen world, between 
death and resurrection, even admitting this to be the meaning of 
the Apostle, is surely a slender basis upon which to rest the doc- 
trine of purgator)'. But it is very doubtful, if this is what the 
Apostle means by the phrase " the lower parts of the earth." The 
language is as often used simply for the earth in opposition to 
heaven, as it is for Hades, or the invisible world. To suppose that 
the reference is to Christ's descending into hell, is not in accord- 
ance with the passage, of which the verse quoted forms a part. 
The descent of which the verse speaks is contrasted with the ascent 
into heaven. The form of expression used is found in other parts 
of Scripture, with no reference whatever to the invisible world ; as 
for example in John 3. v. 13, "No man hath ascended to heaven, 
but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which 
is in heaven." The language used by the Apostle, " the lower parts 
of the earth" just means " the earth." He that descended to the 
earth, and became Man, is the same who has ascended far above 
all heavens, that he might fill all things. 

ist Peter, chap. 3rd, v. 18-20. "For Christ also hath once suf- 
fered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to 
God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit : 
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison : 
which sometimes were disobedient, when once the long suffering of 
God, waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, 
wherein (ew, that is eight souls were saved by water." This pass- 
age is confessedly difficult of interpretation, but it is only by an 
exceedingly forced one, that it can give countenance to the doctrine 
of purgatory, and [jurificalion after death. Those who died in the 
days of Noah were guilty of mortal sins ; but purgatory is for 
venial, not for mortal sins, and therefore whatever the passage 
teaches, it cannot give countenance to such a place. For the dif- 


ferent opinions held concerning the Apostle's language, we refer 
the reader to the notes appended to this chapter, with this simple 
remark, that the interpretation given by commentators of the last 
century seems to us quite as reasonable as those of more modern 
theologians of the orthodox school. The view taken by Arch- 
bishop Leighton and by Bishop Pearson (in his work on the Creed) 
was, that the preaching spoken of was not by the Lord's own spirit, 
but by the Holy Spirit, referred to in the i8th verse, as the author 
of the new life. All the preaching of divine mercy is represented 
as being the preaching of Christ by his Holy Spirit, even that 
which the antedeluvians enjoyed through Noah : and the spirits 
of those who were then disobedient to the call of grace are repre- 
sented as now, after the lapse of so long a time in prison. If such 
a view be correct, it puts an end to the assumption that Christ de- 
scended into hell and preached to the lost spirits. 

With one passage more we close this discussion of Purgatory : 

Matthew, chap. 12, v. 31-32 : "Wherefore I say unto you, all 
manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men : but the 
blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man it shall be 
forgiven him : but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it 
shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world 
to come." Cardinal Wiseman and other Romish writers cite this, 
as teaching the doctrine in question : that the sin against the Holy 
Spirit shall never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to 
come, but argue that it implies that there are sins not forgiven in 
this life WHICH MAY BE FORGIVEN HEREAFTER, and therefore the 
dead, or at least a part of the dead, are not past forgiveness when 
they die. But surely, as has been conclusively shown by Dr. Hodge 
in his Theology, this is a slender thread on which to hang so great 
a weight. The words of Christ contain no such implication. Christ 
simply says, that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost can never be 


forgiven. Such a presumptuous and daring sin can under no pos- 
sible circumstances be pardoned here or hereafter. 

In regard, then, to all such pleadings for some kind of Purgatory, 
whether held by the Romish Church or by certain professedly Pro- 
testant writers, we conclude : that our Lord's language gives no 
countenance to any intermediate state, where men may be purified 
from sins committed in the body and unpardoned at death : that 
the Scriptures are silent in regard to such a state between death 
and the judgment : that while certain inferences may be drawn 
from isolated texts, there is nothing to warrant such a doctrine : and 
finally, that it is in direct antagonism to the fundamental beliefs of 
the Christian Church. Pardon and sanctification are everywhere 
stated in the word of God, as the work of grace. Perfection is 
attained at death, and not due to purgatorial fires. As has been 
well said by Mr. Cheyne Brady, in a recent tract on Repentance : 

" The Neapolitan preacher, who, five times over in the course of 
his sermon, flagellates himself with handsful of iron chains ; the 
crowds who periodically scourge themselves with knotted thongs in 
the darkened chapels in Italy ; the Irish peasant who makes his 
weary pilgrimage to the supposed holy well ; the monk who ema- 
ciates himself with penitential fasting ; the Mahommedan who pain- 
fully observes the rigorous Ramadan ; the Hindoo who drags him- 
self on hands and knees, or walks on spiked sandals hundreds of 
miles ; as well as the Protestant, who prescribes to himself a certain 
round of prayers and fastings, and penitential tears, with a view of 
expiating his sin ; all alike confound repentance with penance, set 
up salvation by human WORKS and human SUFFERINGS, in place 
of salvation by GRACE ; ignore the enormity of the guilt of sin, and 
the awful truth that everlasting destruction is its ONLY due reward ; 
and deny their need of a substitute as well as the atoning power of 
the Cross of Christ." 

But what, it may be asked, is the SiN AGAINST THE HOLY 
Gho.ST ? Certain commentators insist that it is not the Holy Ghost 


as the third person of the Trinity that is referred to in the last pas- 
sage quoted, but the DIVINE NATURE in Christ, and that the 
antithesis is between contemptuous disparagement of Christ as he 
appeared in his humiliation, and the same treatment of him when 
his character and mission were attested by the Holy Ghost. To 
say a word against him when his Godhead was veiled, and as it 
were in abeyance, was a very different offense from speaking with 
contempt and malice of the Holy Ghost in his clearest manifesta- 
tions, especially those furnished by the words and works of Christ. 

But are there not good reasons, taking the language in its ordi- 
nary acceptation, why the sin against the Holy Ghost is said to be 
unpardonable? In order to answer the question, we must first 
consider the special work of the Holy Spirit, then try to understand 
in what this heinous sin consists, and who are in danger of com- 
mitting it. 

The personality of the Holy Ghost is held by all evangelical 
churches. The Bible is full of proofs. 

(a) All the elements of personality are ascribed to him — intelli- 
gence, will, action. 

(b) Personal acts are ascribed to him. He is Teacher, Witness, 
Revealer and Ruler. 

(c) The personal pronoun is always ascribed to him in scripture. 

(d) The same titles are always given him, as are given to God 

(e) Perfections, inseparable from personality, are ascribed to him 
— such as omnipotence and omniscience. 

In the form of baptism, he is associated with the Father and the 
Son as distinct persons. We are baptized in his name, and brought 
into such relationship with him as implies personality. In the 
Apostolic benediction he is associated with the Father and the Son. 
He is the object of prayer, and we enjoy fellowship with him. It 
is only, indeed, by admitting the personality of the Holy Spirit, 
that we can rationally interpret scripture. Everywhere we are 


represented as dealing with a person — not an indefinable shadowy 
effluence, but a being possessed of feelings and emotions, not alto- 
gether like, but analagous to ours. 

(a) He is the source of all life, and the efficient of the Godhead. 
He created the world and garnished the heavens. 

(b) He is the source of all spiritual life. He quickens those 
that are dead in trespasses and sins. He applies Christ's redemp- 
tion to our souls, and makes it effectual for salvation. 

(c) He is a Teacher. He takes of the things of Christ, and 
shows them unto us. He sanctifies through the truth. He in- 
structs in the things of the Kingdom — shows us our own character, 
and reveals to us God's infinite goodness and grace. 

(d) He is the author of all holy thoughts — the inspirer of all 
effective prayer. He helps our infirmities, with groanings which 
cannot be uttered. 

(e) He is the source of all consolation — The Comforter who 
comforteth us in all our tribulations. 

(f) He is to raise this fallen tabernacle at the last day — change 
it into a glorified body, and animate it with a sinless soul. 

Such in brief is the work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot ex- 
plain his operations. We only know that he operates powerfully 
on the world within, and the world without. He incites to good 
and restrains from evii. He helps to form and carry out good reso- 
lutions. He inspires with devotional feelings — imparts childlike 
graces — frees from the bondage of sin, and delivers into the glorious 
liberty of the children of God. He strengthens believers in their 
earthly pilgrimage, by glowing anticipations of heaven, when his 
work shall be completed, and believers shall be presented faultless 
before the Father's throne. 

Many persons suffer great anguish of mind, lest they have com- 
mitted the unpardonable sin, or the sin against the Holy Ghost. 


Sometimes the fear becomes a perfect mania, and leads to the most 
terrible forms of insanity. It is well, therefore, that we should un- 
derstand, if at all possible, in what the sin against the Holy Ghost 

The general opinion entertained regarding it is, that it consists 
in some one flagrant act of wickedness. " I say unto you, all sins 
shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith- 
soever they shall blaspheme : but he that shall blaspheme against 
the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal 

From this it would appear, that a single sin committed in a 
single instant of time, may be so heinous in its character, and so 
infinite in its character, as to place a man beyond the possibility ot 
repentance or salvation. But while this has been the popular 
opinion, no religious teacher or commentator has ever been able 
definitely to say in what the sin consists. Much has been written 
upon the subject by learned men of every age, but their conclusions 
are so widely different, that the theological world and the public 
mind have as yet come to no precise understanding, as to what is 
meant by the sin against the Holy Ghost. And yet there is almost 
unanimity of sentiment regarding this truth, that a man may pass 
into a condition of soul, when pardon and restoration to God's favor 
are impossible. 

Without pretending to be wise above what is written, there are 
those who hold that the sin against the Holy Ghost consists, not in 
any one flagrant act of transgression, but that it is the final devel- 
opment of a long course of resistance, and stubborn impenitence. 
It is a state of heart, which produces conduct unpardonable in the 
sight of God. The Bible nowhere speaks of any single action of a 
spiritual nature, that blasts men's hopes for eternity ; but just as 
there are chronic diseases of the body, that after years of growth 
become incurable and produce death, so the entire mental and emo- 


tional forces of the mind may become so perverted and poisoned 
by sinful courses, and repeated acts of wrong-doing, as to make 
repentance impossible. 

The Holy Spirit strives with all men, but his strivings do not 
last for ever. There is a limit to his longsuffering and forbearance, 
lie waits long, but He does not promise to remain waiting forever. 

" God's spirit will not always strive 

With hardened self-destroying man ; 
Ve who persist His love to grieve, 

May never hear His voice again. 
Sinner, perhaps this very day 

Thy last accepted time may be ; 
Oh, should'st thou grieve Him now away, 

Then hope may never beam on thee." 

Now in the case of men who have committed the unpardonable 
sin, according to this theory, there is, First, a grieving of the Holy 
Spirit. His gracious invitations and solicitations come to all men 
at some period of life — either through the ordinary channels of 
grace, or the religious training of pious parents, or special provi- 
dences which arrest attention and compel reflection. When these 
are despised or unheeded, the first stage is passed that leads to the 
unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost. 

Then Secondly, there is a resisting of the Holy Spirit, This is 
an advance on the former. Stronger means are now used to awaken 
the sinner to a sense of his sin, but the heart becomes more obdu- 
rate, in proportion to the efforts put forth to lead him to repent- 
ance. It is now easier to resist than to grieve. Conscience sleeps 
peacefully, although all the thunders of Sinai played around it. 
And this marks the second stage of insensibility, that leads to the 
unpardonable sin. 

Then Thirdly, there is quenching of the Holy Spirit, which is 
not mere passive apathy and indifference, but positive hatred. The 
evil powers within the man's soul now combine. There is an up- 

cmented souls in fiery tombs, left opeu ill after the Last Judgmeut. 

— The Infernj Canto x. 


rising — a strong united effort, — not merely to resist holy influences 
and good impressions, but to conquer every conviction, and so 
wound and foil the Holy Spirit in all his gracious overtures, that he 
shall not trouble the man again. And when the Holy Spirit is 
thus quenched — stifled— overborne, the third stage is reached to- 
wards the unpardonable sin. 

Then Fourthly, and finally, the sin against the Holy Ghost is 
reached. It was of this crime that Christ accused the Jews. In 
their case, as in the case of every unregenerate man, the last stage 
in wickedness was reached by degrees. They first rejected Christ, 
and refused the evidence of his Messiahship. But this sin, terrible 
though it was, might have been forgiven. But after his ascension, 
the Holy Spirit was vouchsafed, ratifying all his claims to divinity, 
and proving by Apostolic miracles that indeed he was the Christ. 
All this, however, did not in the least change the feeling and con- 
duct of the Jews. Instead of relenting, they blasphemed the Holy 
Ghost, and ascribed his wonderful manifestations to the Devil, until 
growing harder and harder in heart, they were finally given up by 
the Almighty to believe a lie, and sealed their own condemnation. 
This was the sin against the Holy Ghost ; — not secret profanation 
of his name, nor indifference towards his gracious invitations, but 
blasphemy against that being, without whose agency salvation is 

Such, it is held by many, is the nature of the sin against the 
Holy Ghost. A malicious ascription of the Spirit's agency to Satan 
— a resisting of the truth, known to be the truth — and a voluntary 
surrender of the heart, soul and life, to these evil passions, which, 
unobstructed, lead straight to hell. 

Why is the Holy Spirit, it may be asked, so singled out from 
the other persons of the Godhead, as that being, against whom a 
man may so sin as to ensure his final damnation ? Perhaps, as has 
been said, that " as He is the last of the three persons in the God- 
head, he who sins past the Holy Ghost, has sinned past the 


Godhead. If we sin as^ainst the Father, we may be caught in the 
arms of the Son. If we still sin against the Son, the Spirit may 
possibly interpose for our rescue. But if we sin against this last, 
there remains behind no other, upon whose mercy and power we 
may fall back. Or it may be, because the scheme of redemption 
is assigned to the Spirit in its final stage, when it comes to be 
applied. He that sins against the Father, sins against grace in its 
inception: he that sins against the Son, sins against grace in its 
execution ; but he that sins against the Holy Spirit, sins against 
grace in its application. He has exhausted all the provisions of 
mercy, and has shot clean past the only grace through which he can 
be saved." When the Holy Spirit has been alienated by successive 
resistings and quenchings, there is no power nor inclination to 
repent. Repentance is the gift of God, through the working of the 
Spirit. No sin would be unpardonable could it be repented of, but 
sin against the Holy Ghost is unpardonable, because it is His work 
to move us to repentance. When, therefore. He has retired from 
further striving with us, there is no motive whatever to repentance. 
God's children may grieve the Holy Spirit, but can never be guilty 
of the unpardonable sin. Many, however, are troubled, lest they 
have been guilty of the sin against the Holy Ghost. But the very 
fact that they are afraid and alarmed, lest they have placed them- 
selves beyond the reach of mercy, is evidence that they are not 
abandoned. The sure sign that a man has committed the unpar- 
donable sin, is when there is no feeling and no anxiety — when the 
soul is perfectly careless and unconcerned as to the future. When 
men are bowed dcnvn with grief and sorrow by reason of their sins 
and imperfections, and are daily reaching after a condition of life 
that seems almost hopeless, the more desperate their endeavors, — 
there need be no concern regarding this matter. Men who have 
offended God beyond hope of pardon, are reckless and defiant. If, 
like Saul, they have calm moments, when they feel that " God has 
departed from them," it is only the prelude to greater and more 
awful deeds of wickedness. 


^^ HE theory of bodily suffering throughout eternal ages, 
for sins committed during the present life, may be said 
to have originated with Dante. As few, if any, evan- 
gelical Christians now retain it as an article of belief, 

■ ^ it is needless by lengthened argument to refute it. The 
^*^ Church of Rome, as we have seen, while tacitly approving 
of purgatorial fires, does not commit itself to such a view of ever- 
lasting punishment. It simply says, There is a Hell, and there 
reprobate angels and lost men are eternally punished. Instead of 
teaching authoritatively that future punishment will be physical, it 
merely asserts that it is dangerous to deny that it will be so. On 
the other hand, the Hell of Dante is a place, where punishment is 
physical and real. His descriptions of future torment as "the lake 
of fire and brimstone," are not figurative, but literal and actual 
representations, of the awful future in store for impenitent souls. 
A brief sketch of his life and writings, condensed from recent biog- 
raphies, is all that seems necessary to complete this part of our 
subject : 

Dante, or Durante Alighieri, was born at Florence, in Ma}', 
1265. By a familiar contraction of his Christian name, Durante, 
he was called Dante, by which name he has become generally 




Dante's father died while he was but a child. By the advice, 
however, of his surviving relations, and with the assistance of an 
able preceptor, Brunetto Latini, he applied himself closely to polite 
literature and other liberal studies, at the same time that he omitted 
no pursuit necessar)- for the accomplishment of a manly character, 
and mixed with the )'0uth of his age in all honorable and noble 

" His education," says Mr. Carlyle, " was the best then going : 
much school divinity, Aristotelian logic, some Latin classes, no incon- 
siderable insight into certain provinces of things ; and Dante, with 
his earnest, intelligent nature, learned better than most all that was 
learnable. He had a clear, cultivated understanding, and of great 
subtlety ; this best fruit of education he had contrived to realize 
from these scholastics. He knows accurately and well what lies 
close to him ; but, in such a time, without printed books or free 
intercourse, he could not well know what was distant ; the small, 
clear light, most luminous for what is near, breaks itself into singu- 
lar chiaroscura striking on what is far off. This was Dante's learn- 
ing from the schools." 

The first remarkable event of the poet's life, and one which 
served to color the whole of his future existence, w^as his falling in 
love with Beatrice Portinari, of an illustrious family of Florence. 
This attachment served to purify his sentiments ; the lady herself 
died about 1290, when Dante was about twenty-five years of age, 
but he continued to cherish her memory, if we are to judge from 
his poems, to the latest period of his life. 

" There is not one word," remarks Mrs. Oliphant, " to imply 
that Dante ever had the courage to speak of love to Beatrice her- 
self, or to aspire to any return of it from one whom he felt to be far 
above him. She knew it, as women still, in less romantic days, 
know now and then of the silent devotion of some man, too young, 
or too poor, or too humble, even to approach them more nearly. 

a u 

O 11 

® 1 


The sentiment is not obsolete, though it has never produced another 
Vita Nuova. It is love in its highest and most beautiful sense, but 
it is incompatible with any idea of marrying or asking in marriage ; 
and even the pang with which the lover sees his lady another man's 
bride, is rather a wounded sense of some lessening of her perfection 
thereby, than the ordinary pangs of jealousy. This is, of course, a 
sentiment incomprehensible to many minds, but it is not the less a 
real one on that account." 

His political life in that troublous age and the prominent part 
he took in public affairs : his exile and return to Florence, are mat- 
ters foreign to our purpose. His earlier works " The Vita Nuova" 
in which he gives an account of his youthful attachment to Beatrice, 
and " The Convito," a sort of hand-book of universal knowledge 
and philosophy, composed as a means of consolation to his soul, 
after the death of Beatrice, are now but little known, compared 
with "The Divine Commedia" comprising "The Inferno" "The 
Purgatorio " and " The Paradiso." The time of the action of the 
poem is strictly confined to the end of March and the beginning of 
April, 1300. It is likely that it was begun shortly after this date. 
In the Inferno, xix. 79, allusion is made to the decease of Pope 
Clement V., an event which happened in 13 14. This probably 
marks the date of the completion of this cantica. The PURGA- 
TORIO was finished before 1 3 1 8, at which date the Paradiso had 
yet to be written. The last cantos of the Paradiso were probably 
not completed till just before the poet's death. 

There are numerous translations in English of the Divine 
Comedy. Perhaps the best known, and the one which has most 
steadily held its ground, is that of Carey, which, though somewhat 
turgid in its long strain of blank verse, and giving no idea of the 
triple rhyme of the original, is in the main good and faithful. Other 
translations, each with its excellent points, have been made by 
Messrs. Wright, Cayley, Rossetti, and recently by Longfellow 


and Mrs. Ramsay. Most striking of all is the literal prose trans- 
lation of Dr. Carlyle, who unfortunately did not get beyond the 

Dante's DiviNA Commedia is one of the few works of imagin- 
ation which have stood the test of ages, and which will pass down 
to the remotest generations. It resembles no other poem ; it is 
not an epic ; it consists of descriptions, dialogues, and didactic 
precepts. It is a vision of the realms of eternal punishment, of 
expiation, and of bliss, in the invisible world beyond death. Its 
beauties are scattered about with a lavish hand in the form of epis- 
odes, similitudes, vivid descriptions, and, above all, sketches of the 
deep workings of the human heart. 

It is especially in this last department of poetic painting that 
Dante excels, whether he describes the harrowed feelings of the 
wretched father, or the self-devotedness of the lover, or the melting 
influence of the sound of the evening bell on the mariners and the 
pilgrim ; whether he paints the despair of the reprobate souls gath- 
ered together on the banks of Acheron, cursing God and the authors 
of their being, or the milder sorrow of the repentant, chanting the 
" Miserere " along their wearisome way through the regions of pur- 
gatory, he displays his mastery over the human feelings, and his 
knowledge of those chords that vibrate deepest in the heart of man. 
No other writer except Shakspeare can be compared to Dante in 
this respect. His touches are few, but they all tell. 

Dante was a sincere Catholic ; in his poem he places the heretics 
in hell, and Dominic in Paradise, and manifestly shows everywhere 
his belief in the dogmas of the Romish Church ; but he attacks its 
discipline, or rather, the relaxation of its discipline. He urges, like 
Petrarch and other Catholic writers of that and the following ages, 
the necessity of a reform, and above all of a total separation of the 
spiritual from the temporal authority, things generally confounded 
by the Roman canonists. 

Heretics punished in tonnbs burning with intense fire. 

^The Infsrno Canto 

dantean theorv of physical cuffering. 245 

The Inferno 

In the opening- of the Inferno, the poet imagines himself at the 
gates of hell, about to explore its untold terrors. Through the 
intercession of Beatrice, his glorified mistress, he has been allowed 
this unusual privilege. The poet Virgil has been selected as his 
attendant and protector. And thus, in Easter-week of the year 
1300, the modern Orpheus approaches the mouth of the yawnit^ 
pit, which is entered by a single door. Above the entrance are 
written the ominous words : 

" Through me you pass into the city of woe : 

Through me you pass into eternal pain : 

Through me among the people lost for aye. 
* * * * 

All hope abandon ye, who enter here." 

The Inferno is painted by the poet as a vast cone or pit which 
penetrates to the centre of the earth. It is divided into seven cir- 
cles or spheres, the lowest being the abodes of the most guilty, and 
the scene of the most fearful punishments. In the deepest circle, 
at the centre of the earth, is seen Satan, half buried in a sea of ice, 
and flapping his six terrible wings in his vain efforts to escape from 
eternal woe. But there is no hope for the lost. Despair sits upon 
every countenance ; sighs, lamentations, moans, resound through 
the horrible abode. A crash of thunder strikes Dante insensible as 
he enters ; but the memory of Beatrice and the encouragement of 
Virgil enables him persist in his design. In vain the wild demons 
rush upon him to tear him to pieces, in vain the flames rise around 
him or the sulphurous smoke ascends, so long as Beatrice is his 
protestor. In the different circles he meets many of his former 
friends or foes, who recognize his Tuscan accent, and ask for news 
from the upper world, or explain to him for what crimes they have 
been condemned to endless woe. The various punishments of the 
lost imagined by the poet are wonderful examples of his originality. 
The guilty are enclosed in blazing tombs, bitten by poisonous ser- 


pents, scorched by fiery rain ; are compelled to gnaw and devour 
each other; are plunged in pools of blood, half suffocated, and are 
then suddenly withdrawn ; are pierced by the darts of centaurs, or 
chained to eternal icebergs. 

One or two specimens taken almost at random from " The 
Inferno," will give the reader some faint idea of the ghastly pictures 
drawn by Dante, of the lost in hell : 

"Here sighs with lamentations and loud moans, 
Resounded through the air pierced by no star. 
That e'en I wept at entering, various tongues, 
Horrible languages, Outcries of woe. 
Accents of anger, voices deep and hoarse, 
With hands together smote that swell'd the sounds. 
Made up a tumult, that forever whirls 
Round through that air with solid darkness stain'd, 
Like to the sand that in the whirlwind flies." 

"Woe to you, wicked spirits ! hope not 
Ever to see the sky again. I come 
To take you to the other shore across 
Into eternal darkness, there to dwell 
In fierce heat and ice." 

"O'er all the sand, fell slowly wafting down 
Dilated flakes of fire, as flakes of snow 
On Alpine summit, when the wind is hushed. 
As, in torrid Indian clime, the son 
Of Ammon saw, upon his warrior band 
Descending, solid flames, that to the ground 
Came down ; * * * 

So fell the eternal fiery flood, wherewith 
The marie glow'd underneath, as under stove 
The viands, doubly to augment the pain. 
Unceasing was the play of wretched hands, 
Now this, now that way glancing, to shake off 
The heat, still falling fresh." 

"Amid this dread exuberance of woe. 
Ran naked spirits wing'd with horrid fear. 
Nor hope had they of crevice where to hide. 
With serpents were their hands behind them bound, 


Which through their veins infixed the tail and head 

Twisted in folds before. And, lo ! on one 

Near to our side, darted an adder up, 

And, where the neck is on the shoulders tied. 

Transpierced him. Far more quickly than e'en pen 

Wrote O or I, he kindled, burn'd, and changed 

To ashes all, pour'd out upon the earth. 

When there dissolved he lay, the dust again 

Uproll'd spontaneous, and the selfsame form 

Instant resumed. So mighty sages tell, 

The Arabian Phoenix, when five hundred years 

Have well nigh circled, dies, and springs forthwith 

Renascent :" 

* * "As one that falls, 

He knows not how, by force demoniac dragg'd 
To earth, or through obstruction fettering up 
In chains invisible to the powers of man, 
Who, risen from his trance, gazeth around. 
Bewildered with the monstrous agony 
He hath indured, and wildly staring sighs : 
So stood aghast the sinner when he rose. 
Oh ! how severe God's judgment, that deals out, 
Such blows in stormy vcngence !" 

Dore has lately given to the world his illustration of the In- 
ferno, but even that inventive artist has failed to reproduce the 
wonderful variety of Dante, and his pictures seem almost tame and 
commonplace compared to the profuse novelty of the original. 

The Purgatorio. 

The Purgatorio, which follows the Inferno, is less vigorous, but 
still wonderfully poetical. Dante escapes through a passage that 
leads from the lowest sphere into Purgatory. As the Inferno was 
represented as a conical pit penetrating into the centre of the earth, 
Purgatory is painted as a tall mountain whose top ascends towards 
heaven. Its interior is divided into many spheres, and as the 
period of purgation passes, the spirits of the elect rise upward, and 
are led by angels to the celestial world above. When it is an- 
nounced by the angels that a soul has escaped to heaven, all Pur- 


gatoiy rings with exclamations of joy. Tiie characteristic trait o( 
hell was despair, that of Purgatory is hope. The torments of Pur- 
gatory resemble those of the Inferno, but they are borne with 
patience, because they lead to eternal bliss. Angelic resignation 
sits on every countenance, and a throng of elect, slowly purging 
their sins away in the ages of contrition, meets the poet's eye as he 
ascends from sphere to sphere. 

The Paradiso. 

At last the prospect of heaven opens upon him. Led by 
Beatrice, he views the thrones of the Immortals and the seats of 
perpetual bliss. Paradise, too has its ascending spheres, rising 
from the moon to the limits of the stars and the centre of the uni- 
verse. Dante rises upward amidst the songs of rejoicing spirits 
and scenes of endless joy. There he sees the martyred saints who 
have suffered on earth, now clad in their robes of triumph ; there 
are meek women and lowly men, who on earth were forgotten, now 
raised above kings and princes ; there are holy anchorites and 
faithful monks, who on earth fed on herbs and roots, and were 
clothed in coarse attire, now radiant with the gems of the New 
Jerusalem, and fed with the viands of Paradise ; there are St Mark, 
St. Peter, St. John, and all the holy band of the apostles, who by 
serving the Master so faithfully on earth have become the princes 
and rulers of heaven. And there at length, in the highest sphere, 
Dante is permitted to gaze upon the Almighty Creator, the source 
of love and purity, the mind by which all things are moved, the 
mdiant centre of light, the ineffable Divine, the ruler of the heart, 
the victor of the skies, whose fallen foe the poet had not long ago 
beheld flapping his vulture wings in the icy fetters of the Inferno. 

The Character of Dante's Geniu.s. 

The character of Dante's genius has been well described by Mr. 
Oscar Browning, in the ninth edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica." '"Dante," says Mr. Browning, "may be said to have con- 

Beatuce, transfigmed aii'l <i;loiih('(l descending from heaven appears to the Poet, after he lias 
passed through, the cleai*siug hie of purgatoiy. — The Vision of Purgatory, Canto xxx. 


centratcd in himself the spirit of the middle ages. Whatever there 
was of piety, of philosophy, of poetry, of love of nature, and of love 
of knowledge in those times, is drawn to a focus in his writings. 
He is the first great name in literature after the night of the 
dark ages. 

" The Italian language, in all its purity and sweetness, in its 
aptness for the tenderness of love and the violence of passion, or 
the clearness of philosophical arguments, sprang fully grown and 
fully armed from his brain. His metre is as pliable and flexible 
to every mood of emotion ; his diction as plaintive and as sonorous. 
Like him, he can immortalize, by a simple expression, a person, a 
place, or a phase of nature. Dante is even truer in description than 
Virgil, whether he paints the snow falling in the Alps, or the home- 
ward flight of birds, or the swelling of an angry torrent. But under 
this gorgeous pageantry of poetry there lies a unity of conception, 
a power of philosophic grasp and earnestness of religion, which to 
the Roman poet were entirely unknown. 

"Still more striking is the similarity between Dante and Milton. 
This may be said to lie rather in the kindred nature of their sub- 
jects, and in the parallel development of their minds, than in any 
mere external resemblance. In both, the man was greater than 
the poet, the souls of both were ' like a star" and dwelt apart.' Both 
were academically trained in the deepest studies of their age ; the 
labor which made Dante lean made Milton blind. 'On evil days, 
though fallen, and evil tongues,' they gathered the concentrated 
experience of their lives into one immortal work, the quintessence 
of their hopes, their knowledge, and their sufferings. 

" Looked at outwardly, the life of Dante seems to have been an 
utter and disastrous failure. What its inward satisfaction must 
have been, we, with Paradiso open before us, can form some con- 
ception. To him, longing with an intensity which only the word 
DANTESQUE will express, to realize an ideal upon earth, and con- 


tinually baffled and misunderstood, the far greater part of his 
mature Hfe must have been labor and sorrow." 
The Poet's Death. 

In 1 3 17-18, Dante appears to have been still wandering about 
Italy. In 13 19, he repaired again to Guido da Polenta, lord of 
Ravenna, by whom he was hospitably received, and with whom he 
appears to have remained till his death. There he was seized by 
an illness which terminated fatally either in July or September, 

Scarce was Dante at rest in his grave when Italy felt instinc- 
tively that this was her great man. 

In 1350, the republic of Florence voted the sum of ten golden 
florins, to be paid by the hands of Messrs. Giovanni Bocaccio to 
Dante's daughter Beatrice, a nun in the convent of Santa Chiara 
at Ravenna. 

In 1396, Florence voted a monument, and begged in vain for 
the metaphorical ashes of the man of whom she had threatened to 
make literal cinders if she could catch him alive. In 1429, she 
begged again, but Ravenna, a dead city, was tenacious of the dead 
poet. In 1 5 19, Michael Angelo would have built the monument, 
but Leo X. refused to allow the sacred dust to be removed. 

Finally, in 1829, five hundred and eight years after the death of 
Dante, Florence got a cenotaph fairly built in Santa Croce (by 
Ricci), ugly even beyond the usual lot of such, with three colossal 
figures on it, Dante in the middle, with Italy on one side, and Poesy 
on the other. 

The tomb at Ravenna, built originally in 1483, was restored in 
1692, and finally rebuilt in its present form in 1780. It is a little 
shrine, covered with a dome, not unlike the tomb of a Mohammedan 
saint, and is now the chief magnet which draws foreigners and their 
gold to Ravenna. The VALET DE PLACE says that Dante is not 
buried under it, but beneath the pavement of the street in 
front of it. 






'^'^ '^- 



UTURE Probation, is the phrase which is commonly 
used to denote the doctrine that after this life is ended' 
men will still have opportunity for faith and repent- 
ance. It may not be amiss to remark, that this doctrine 
has no necessary logical connection with a belief in the 
final restoration of all rational creatures to the favor of 
While it is plain, in view of the manifest fact that a large 
part of the human race die in sin, that one who believes in final 
universal salvation, must either believe in a regeneration and sanc- 
tification accomplished in the article of death, or else, with the 
great majority of restorationists, in a faith and repentance in the 
life to come ; yet, on the other hand, it is no less clear that a man 
may believe that the offer of salvation will not be restricted to this 
life, while yet sincerely accepting the Scripture testimony that 
many will be lost forever. 

Again, it is of consequence to observe, that the doctrine of the 
continuance of the Gospel offer after death is held in various forms- 
Those who maintain this differ among themselves, (i) as to the 
DURATION of future probation, and (2) as to its EXTENT. There 
are those who hold that to all eternity it will be possible, upon the 
condition of repenting of sin, and believing upon Christ as Saviour, 
for any soul to be saved from sin and woe. Others, again, main- 
tain that, although the possibility of salvation does not end with 
death, yet there is a f-^m**. for every one, if not here, then hereafter, 


after which it will be forever too late to be saved. The most of 
those who hold this view, as many evangelical theologians of Europe, 
maintain that this point is or will be reached for each person, 
whensoever and wheresoever Christ shall be definitely and intelli- 
gibly offered, and consciously and deliberately rejected. It seems 
to be the common opinion with such, however, that before the final 
judgment, Christ will have been thus offered to every human being 
who has ever lived, either before death or after. Thus we may 
distinguish, in a general way, different views regarding the duration 
of future probation, as the belief is an everlasting probation, and 
the belief in a probation terminated, at the farthest, by the day of 

We have also to distinguish two opinions as to the extent of the 
future offer of salvation. There are those who believe that all who 
die impenitent, will still, for a time, limited or unlimited, after death, 
have the opportunity of salvation ; a large number restrict this 
privilege to those who, like the most of men in heathen lands, and 
not a few in so-called Christian countries, have not had in their life- 
time any opportunity of hearing about Christ in any intelligible way, 
and so have never intelligently rejected him. 

It is not easy to exaggerate the practical importance of this 
question. If the offer of salvation will be continued after death to 
some or to all who die impenitent, then it should be most clearly 
shown. We need the consolation which the knowledge of this 
would give, so often are our hearts overburdened with the inscrutable 
mystery of permitted sin. But if. on the other hand, the almost 
universal belief of the Church in all ages to the contrary, be indeed 
founded on the teachings of God's word, then do we need to know 
this with assurance. Life is serious enough, in any view of the 
case ; but what shall be said of the awful solemnity of living, if, on 
the decisions of three score years and ten, really turns the question 
whether we shall be holy and happy, or sinful and miserable forever 
and ever? or what, again, shall be said of the responsibility which 


rests upon the Church of Christ, if, although the offer of salvation 
be for this life only, she is anything less than most intensely earnest 
in carrying the tidings of the great salvation to those who are sit- 
ting in darkness ? 

As to how our hearts would have this question answered, with 
the light we have, there can be no doubt. From many a soul would a 
haavy burden be lifted, could the assurance be given from God's word, 
that for all or any who had died impenitent, there was still room for 
hope. Especially is this the case with regard to the heathen world. 
We do not greatly wonder that so many believe in a future preach- 
ing of the gospel, to these at least, if to no others. And while we 
would be far from calling in question the sincerity and piety of 
many, who confidently hold to the extension of the gospel offer 
after death, we cannot resist the conviction forced upon us by many 
of the arguments one hears, that with very many such, these inward 
desires and longings of the heart, as well as the intellectual difficul- 
ties which render so inscrutable the permission of sin by God, and 
the apparent inequality of his dealings, have often had — no doubt 
unconsciously to the individual — a decisive influence on the inter- 
pretation of God's word. 

Considering this doctrine now under each of the forms under 
which it is presented, we ask, first, whether there is reason to be- 
lieve that the offer of salvation will ALWAYS stand open, so that it 
will never be too late for any one to be saved ? The theory which 
maintains this, as commonly held, seems to us to rest upon an 
erroneous view as to the nature of free agency. It is conceived 
that in order to free agency, man must ever have plenary power to 
choose for God. Hence is inferred an eternal possibility of repent- 
ance. It is apart from the scope of this argument to go into a full 
discussion of this question. We can only say that the theory of 
freedom to which we refer, seems to us to stand in direct contra- 
diction to undisputed facts of experience. If any man has doubt 
on this subject, and thinks that because he is free, he can by voli- 


tion reverse at pleasure the current of his love or hate, let him at 
once, by all means, try the experiment, and so test his theory. Let 
the man who is conscious of hating his enemy, will to begin to love 
him heartily and sincerely from a certain definite hour. 

Moreover, it must not be overlooked that if this argument be 
assumed to prove the continuance of the possibility of salvation for 
ever, by logical necessity this involves the perpetual possibility ot 
apostasy from God among the saved — a doctrine which finds few 
advocates! On the other hand, if the certainty that a man will 
never sin, — a certainty which we all believe will be attained by the 
saved hereafter, — is compatible with freedom, then plainly a cer- 
tainty that a man will never stop sinning, may be no less compati- 
ble with freedom. 

But even if this conception of free agency were not false, still 
I he conclusion would not follow, that there could never be a time 
too late to be delivered from the punishment of sin. For mere re- 
pentance and forsaking of sin does not of itself bring deliverance 
from penal evil. That it does this, in the case of the christian, is 
due, not to anything in the nature of faith and repentance, but 
solely to the Grace of God, through the atonement of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. In order, therefore, to prove that there can never be 
a time when salvation shall not be attainable, it must be shown, 
not only that an irreversible fixedness of character is impossible, 
but also that there never will be a time when God, who is now 
ready to save from the penal consequences of sin, on condition 
of faith and repentance, will be willing no longer. It must be 
shown from the Scriptures, — the only possible source of knowledge 
on such a subject, — that it is not possible for a sinner to exhaust 
the patience and long-suffering of God. 

Again, this theory of an eternal possibility of salvation over- 
looks patent facts of observation and experience. For is it not 
plain that the will ever tends to set itself, to all appearance change- 
lessly, with the most astonishing rapidity, especially in evil? Is it 


not the fact that very rarely do we see a man turn to God who is 
past fifty ? Are there many who turn even at forty ? Is it not 
clear that moral character instead of never becoming unchangeably 
fixed in evil, in multitudes of cases appears to be already settled 
here in this life, for this side of death? And if practically this 
fixity of character is often reached here on the earth within so short 
a time as fifty years, what is the probability that a man who has 
successfully resisted the Gospel for centuries, — supposing it to be 
offered for so long, — will yet accept it, — say, after a thousand years ? 

But others, assuming now a different view of human freedom, 
argue that there is hope yet even in such a case from the almighty 
power of God. To this we answer that the question is not as to 
what God can do, but as to what he has revealed that he has deter- 
mined to do. What the answer to that question must be, does not, 
with regard to this life, admit of dispute. Although i-t is true that 
God is almighty, and although, as we believe, regeneration is an act 
of his almighty power, yet it is evident that he gives this grace, as 
a general rule, not without regard to the laws of habit. It is a fact 
that God very rarely renews any who are past middle life. This is 
a most significant fact in its bearing on the present controversy. 
The will rapidly tends to set and harden, as the result of repeated 
acts of choice, and, so far as all appearances go, with multitudes 
has already taken an irreversible set against God and holiness, even 
before life is half gone. It is a fact that God, in the bestowal of 
his regenerating grace, commonly regards this law. This does not 
look like an everlasting possibility of salvation. 

Finally, against this theory of a probation without limit stand 

all the representations of the Scriptures as to the issues of the day 

of judgment. In every instance they represent those issues as final 

and irreversible. It was the Lord Jesus who declared to many he 

would yet speak those awful words, " Depart from me, ye cursed, 

into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels !" As to 

rejoinders based upon other interpretations of the word AlONioS, 


it may, wc tliink, be fairly said that the New Testament usac^e of 
that term has been finally settled by the highest lexical authorit}', 
as denoting endless duration. 

Whatever opinion, then, any may hold as to the precise time 
when for each one probation ends, if anything is plain from the 
Scriptures it is this, that it will not continue for ever. It will cer- 
tainly not last beyond the day of judgment. The issues of that day 
are final. The great burden of all the Divine expostulations is 
ever just thi^, — the coming of a time when it shall be forever too 
late. Thus, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, we read : " To-day, if 
ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the days of the 
temptation in the wilderness. * * To whom I sware in 

my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest." Of what force such 
words as these, if there shall never be a time when it shall be too 
late to repent ? 

But this is so clear that the most of those who deny a universal 
restoration, and yet affirm a doctrine of future probation, are care- 
ful to say that this probation will yet have a limit. We are told 
that in no case will it last beyond the intermediate state ; while for 
many, through their free self-decision against Christ, or the sin 
against the Holy Ghost, it may end much sooner, even in this life. 
Among those who hold that in the intermediate state, salvation 
will still be offered, we may, however, distinguish, as above re- 
marked, two classes. There are those who hold that this side of 
the day of judgment the offer of salvation will be absolutely closed 
for none, except for those who have been guilty of the sin against 
the Holy Spirit ; while others, probably a much larger number, 
think that the future offer of salvation will be restricted to those 
who had not in this life the opportunity of deciding for or against 
Christ. W^e have first to consider the view of the former class. 

As to these, in the first place, no one pretends to have discovered 
a single formal statement in the Scriptures teaching that those who 
reject Christ when offered to them here, will have the opportunity 


to reverse their decision hereafter. If this be not decisive against 
the supposed doctrine, yet the absence of such statement is cer- 
tainly of ominous significance 

In the second place, against this theory stands the fact already 
noted, that the Scriptures attach such transcendent importance to 
this earthly life. If all, with the exception of the one small class 
already noted, shall have the opportunity to believe on Christ here- 
after, how explain the burning urgency of the apostle Paul, for ex- 
ample, — his more than willingness, his intense eagerness to become 
anything, or do anything, so that he "might by all means save 

However painful the conclusion, and however dark the mystery 
which veils the judgment of God, the more that we study the Scrip- 
tures, the more are we constrained to hold with steadfastness to the 
teaching of the church catholic upon this subject, that if the Scrip- 
tures are to be allowed to decide the question, then we must believe 
that for all at least who hear the Gospel and reject it, the opportu- 
nity of salvation ends with death. For all such we feel compelled 
to believe that if there be any meaning in words, then the interme- 
diate state is not a state of continued probation, but the beginning 
of a woe which is endless. 

But is it also this for all ? This brings us to the consideration of 
the other form in which a doctrine of probation between death and 
judgment is maintained. Granting that for all who here have the 
opportunity of accepting Christ as Saviour and reject him, the inter- 
mediate state will offer no chance to reverse their decision and 
retrieve their error, may we not, with many, suppose that for those 
who, through no fault of their own, have never heard of Christ on 
earth, the opportunity to know his gospel and accept it will be given 
after death, so that at last to every human being, either in this life 
or the next, before the final day of judgment, Christ will have been 
clearly offered, to be accepted or rejected ? 


This question must not be confounded, as it sometimes is, with 
the perfectly distinct question, whether it be permitted to suppose 
that possibly the Spirit of God may, in exceptional cases here in 
this world, renew the hearts of men who have never heard of a 
Christ, thus leading them to true repentance and holy living with- 
out the knowledge of a Saviour. Whether this be true, indeed, we 
greatly doubt ; never among the heathen have we met or heard of 
one meeting any person who gave evidence of being born again, 
before that they had heard the Gospel. But whether true or not, 
this is not the question now before us. What it really is, may be 
stated again in the words of Prof. Dorner, who advocates this view. 

He says : " The absoluteness of Christianity demands that no 
one be judged before Christianity has been made acceptable and 
brought near to him. But that is not the case in this life with mil- 
lions of human beings. Nay, even within the Church there are 
periods and circles where the Gospel does not really approach men 
as that which it is. Moreover, those dying in childhood have not 
been able to decide personally for Christianity." 

In regard to this question we have to remark, first, as to infants : 
their case does not oblige us to suppose that because they have 
not yet been able to believe, therefore they must enter on the in- 
termediate state with their spiritual condition undecided. For as 
many as believe in the possibility and the fact of infant regener- 
ation, it should be plain that it is quite possible for God, by his 
almighty power, without interfering with human freedom, by his 
regenerating grace to make the future free decisions of all such 
absolutely certain before they leave this world. For infants, there- 
fore, while we must as Prof. Dorner suggests, admit that their first 
conscious personal choice of Christ as Lord and Saviour must be 
made in the future life, yet it by no means follows, as he and others 
have assumed, that for this reason their regeneration must also take 
place in the intermediate state. In such a first free choice of Christ 
one need only see the assured result of a regenerating change 


which passed UDon them while yet in this present Hfe. Where 
God, however, has revealed so little, we shall do well that our own 
words be few. 

The chief interest of the question before us, centres in the case 
of the heathen. Does the word of God warrant the belief that to 
all those to whom, *:h»-ough no fault of their own, the Gospel has 
not in their lifetime been preached, it will be preached, bringing them 
the offer of salvation, in the world of the dead ? Gladly, indeed, 
would one welcome such a doctrine. We do not wonder that so 
many have eagerly caught at such a hope. Such a truth, if a truth, 
would lift from the heart of many a thoughtful Christian a very 
heavy burden. Nevertheless we are compelled to say for our part, 
we are able to find in the word of God no warrant for such a cheer- 
ing hope, but on the contrary much that seems to be very clear 
against it. 

In the first place, the Scriptures uniformly assume that what is 
done for the salvation of the heathen must be done in this life. 
This seems to be suggested, for example, if not distinctly implied, 
in the account which they give of the missionary labors of the 
apostle Paul. 

Again, in Rom. x. 9-17, Paul first lays down the necessity of 
faith, — of calling on the name of the Lord — in order to salvation. 
To this necessity he makes no exceptions, suggests no qualifica- 
tions whatever. But then he reminds us that men cannot "call 
upon him of whom they have not heard " ; that " faith cometh by 
hearing, and hearing by the word of God "; and argues that, again, 
it is impossible for men to hear without preaching, and for any 
to preach, "'except they be sent." 

From these words, as from the apostle's own actions, the natural 
inference is that he believed that if the heathen are to be saved, 
they must hear of Christ from the living preacher. Will any one 
venture to say that Paul in this language had in mind also a preach- 
ing of the Gospel to the dead ? Surely his words must refer to the 


sendinsT of the Gospel by the living Church to unevangclizcd lands 
— as to Africa, China, and India — and not to missionary work in 
Hades ! 

Most explicit of all, however, are the words of the same apostle 
in Rom, ii. 12, where we read, "As many as have sinned without 
law " — what ? shall have a chance to hear the law in the next life, 
and so to repent and be saved ? That is far enough from being 
what he says, for the words are, " As many as have sinned without 
law, SHALL ALSO PERLSH without law." No words could be more 
categorical or all-inclusive in their scope. " As MANY AS have 
sinned without law, SHALL also perish without law"! This 
single passage seems to us to stand like a wall, forbidding to all 
who acknowledge the inspired authority of the apostle any further 
speculation on the matter. 

To these strictly Scriptural arguments we do not feel that it 
should be necessary to add anything else. Where the Holy Spirit 
has spoken, it befits us to be silent. 

But it is right that we should hear what is argued on the other 
side of this question. 

In the first place, then, from the dogmatic point of view, the 
doctrine of a future probation, for at least the heathen, is argued 
from the nature of God as in-finitely good and just. For if we arc 
to believe that God has provided a salvation sufficient for all, and 
that yet multitudes, through no fault of their own, are in the provi- 
dence of God precluded from any chance of hearing of Christ in 
this life, and because of this are helplessly lost, and that forever, 
then, it is said, it is quite impossible to vindicate the goodness and 
justice of God. 

Tliat, assuming this to be the real state of the case, we find our- 
selves confronting a dark and most painful mystery, no one will 
deny. And yet a very little reflection should make it clear to any 
one that arguments such as this, from the justice and goodness of 
God, to what God will do or will not do, cannot be alwa}'s pressed 


.vith much confidence, plausible as they seem at first hearing. For, 
as already remarked, it will not do to ignore the fact that although 
God is infinite in justice, goodness and mercy, yet sin and pain are 
here. And where is there anything in this common argument from 
the goodness and justice of God as demanding a future probation 
for the heathen, which would not have applied, A FORTIORI, against 
the permission of sin and misery at all ? It is here that the real 
mystery lies ; and not in fixing a certain limit to probation, or in 
denying the offer of pardon to many of the sinful sons of men. 
Surely the fact that sin is here, notwithstanding the moral perfec- 
tion of God, should make us more cautious and less confident than 
some are in the inference, that the nature of God ensures to any or 
all among the heathen an offer of salvation after death. 

In the second place, now that sin has mysteriously come into 
the world, it is at least quite conceivable, that the universal limita- 
tion of the offer of salvation to the present life, may be just the 
best way that infinite wisdom could devise for restraining the evils 
of sin within the narrowest possible limits. Certain it is that no 
man living knows enough of the divine government to be able to 
show that this may not indeed be so. 

Again, the argument assumes a low and false estimate of the 
moral intelligence and consequent guilt of the heathen. When it 
is asked whether the heathen can justly be punished for their sin, 
the answer turns upon the question, whether they have any valid 
excuse for their sin. If they neither know, nor by any possible effort 
could know, what the holy God requires of man, then indeed we 
must confess that to punish them would be unjust, and that a 
future revelation would be necessary before they could be justly 
condemned. But we must insist that the moral ignorance of the 
heathen, by 'hinkers of this class is very often grossly exagger- 
ated. The plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures is, that while 
the heathen have not from the light of nature light enough to save 
them, they do have enough to condemn them. As regards the 


revelation of God in external nature we read, that "the invisible 
things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being 
understood b>- the things that are made, — so that they are without 
excuse, because that when they knew God, they glorified him not 
as God, neither were thankful." In like manner as regards the 
revelation of God's will in the heart, — the law which is written on 
the natural conscience, — we read again, that these which have not 
the law, are yet " a law unto themselves, which show the work of 
the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing wit- 
ness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing 
one another." That the heathen are so totally and helplessly ignor- 
ant that they could not be justly punished for their sin, is in these 
passages formally denied. 

And the argument of the apostle is confirmed by the testimony 
of the heathen themselves in numberless instances. Evil as their 
life is, they know, or, at least, if they but stop and think, they may 
know that it is evil. This is shown, for example, by the fact that 
among idolatrous peoples, again and again, have thoughtful indi- 
viduals seen the folly and the sin of idol worship, and, led by the 
light of nature only, have condemned and forsaken it, And the 
stern charge of God's Word is the more acknowledged in the mul- 
titude of testimonies which we have from heathen in every part of 
the world — testimonies at once to their knowledge of the right and 
the wrong, and their consciousness of guilt and ill-desert. 

But it is rejoined that still, although the heathen may for their 
sins deserve to be punished, as indeed do we all ; yet, since God 
has offered salvation to many, he must therefore in justice offer it 
to all, and at least give all an equal chance to accept or reject the 
salvation, else he were become partial and unjust. Hence it is 
inferred with great confidence, that since, beyond doubt, the Gospel 
is not offered to all in this life, it will certainly be offered after 
death, before the final judgment, to all who could not hear the 
Gospel while in this present life. To this argument one might 


answer, that it is contradicted even by the voice of human reason 
as expressed in human government. For, in the case of a revolt 
among men, who would venture to maintain that in the event of an 
amnesty being offered to some, the Government could not do less 
in justice than offer amnesty to all whose guilt was similar ? Can 
any one deny that in such a case a human government may reserve, 
and righteously reserve, its rights of sovereignty ? Where in the 
history of our race was the theory ever propounded or acted on, 
that in such cases amnesty must be offered to all under the same 
circumstances, if offered to any ? 

But this argument derives its whole force from the tacit assump- 
tion already mentioned, that man has some claim on God for 
saving mercy. For if he has not, what basis then for the assump- 
tion that those to whom the Gospel is not offered in this life, MUST 
have it offered after death? But to assume such a claim of man on 
God is to assume what is contradicted by the plainest declarations 
of the Scriptures. Everywhere and always they insist that man's 
salvation is " ALL oF GRACE ;" whereas this argument assumes that 
the heathen somehow have a claim in righteousness on God for the 
offer of the Gospel, so that the Gospel is therefore not ALL of grace, 
but in part, at least, of debt ! 

Last of all, whether any man like it or not, the fact remains and 
cannot be explained away, that God actually claims and uses this 
absolute sovereignty in the dispensations of his mercy. Are all 
men treated alike in the general providential government of God ? 
Neither, according to the Scripture, will they be in his redemptive 
administrations. For it is written, " He saith, I will have mercy 
upon whom I will have mercy." 

What then ? Must we conclude that, as far as man can see, 
there must be injustice with God, if the heathen, many of them, 
have not here or hereafter the offer of salvation ? How shall this 
^le ? Injustice to whom ? Not surely to those who hear the Gospel, 
believe and a.-^ saved ; they are saved righteously by the expiating 


olood. Not surely to those who hear the Gospel in this life, and 
reject it ; they have acted freely in rejecting Christ and suffer 
justly, and cannot complain or justly demand a second probation. 
Is there then injustice toward the heathen who never hear the 
Gospel, and so perish in their sins ? Neither can this be. For in 
the first place, they did not deserve to be saved any more than 
others ; in the second place, because they will not be punished for 
not believing on him of whom they never heard nor could hear, but 
only for not living up to the light that they either had or could 
have had ; and lastly, because God, as he tells us, will in the 
final judgment take full account of all the disadvantages under 
which any have lived. " He that knew his Master's will and did 
it not, shall be beaten with many stripes, and he that knew not 
his Master's will and did it not, shall be beaten with (e\v stripes." 
— Professor S. H. Kellogg, D. D., (Presbyterian Review, 
April, 1885.) 

1ST Peter 3, v. 18-20.* The Apostle has been led through what 
seemed at first a train of ethical counsels, to the example of the 
meekness and patience of Christ. But he cannot rest in the thought 
of his Lord's passion as being only an example, and so he passes 
on to speak of its redeeming power. It was a sacrifice for sins ; in 
some mysterious, transcendent way, vicarious. Its purpose was 
nothing less than to bring mankind to God. But then the thought 
rose up before him that the work looked backward as well as for- 
ward ; that those who had fallen asleep in past ages, even under 
conditions that seemed most hopeless, were not shut out from hope. 
Starting either from a wide-spread belief among the Jews as to the 
extent of the Messiah's work ; or from the direct teaching of his 
Master after that resurrection ; or from one of those flashes of truth 
which were revealed to him not by flesh and blood, but by his 
Father in heaven, he speaks of that wider work. The Lord was 

• This is the view of those who hold, that this much disputed passage tpaches tli'> 
poRBibility of repentance after death. We deem it only fair to place it before the reader, 
along with the more generally aoeept'^d interpretations that follow. 


"put to death in the flesh," but was "quickened in the spirit." That 
cry, " Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit," was the begin- 
ning of a new activity. He passed into the world of the dead to 
be the herald of His own victory. As our Lord in speaking of 
God's judgments in the past, had taken the days of Noah and the 
destruction of Tyre and Sidon, and the Cities of the Plain, as repre- 
sentative instances of what was true of countless others, so does 
Peter. The spirits of whom he thought as hearing that message 
were those who had been unbelieving, disobedient, corrupt, ungodly ; 
but who had not hardened themselves in the one irremediable an- 
tagonism to good which has never forgiveness. 

The words, taken by themselves, might leave us in doubt as to 
the nature and effect of the proclamation. But it is surely altoge- 
ther monstrous to think, as some have thought, that He who a short 
time before had breathed the prayer, " Father, for they know not 
what they do ;" who had welcomed, with a marvellous tenderness, 
the cravings of the repentant robber ; who had felt, though but for 
a moment, the agony of abandonment, as other children of God 
have felt it without ceasing to be children — should pass into the 
world of the unseen only to tell the souls of the lost of a kingdom 
from which they are excluded, a blessedness in which they had 
neither part nor lot ; to mock with the proclamation of a victory 
those who were only to be crushed under the chariot wheels of the 
conqueror. We have not so learnt Christ as to think of that as 

But whatever doubt might linger round the words is removed 
by the reiterated assertion of the same truth a few verses further 
on (ist Peter iv. 6.) That which was " preached also to them that 
are dead," was nothing else but a gospel — the good news of the 
redeeming love of Christ. And it was published to them, not to 
exempt them from the penalty, but that they having been judged, 
in all that belonged to the relations of their human life, with a true 
and righteous judgment, should yet. in all that affected their rela- 


lion to God, "live in the spirit." Death came upon them, and 
they accepted their punishment as awarded by the loving and 
righteous Judge, and so ceased from the sin to which they had 
before been slaves, and thus it became to them the gate of life. So, 
the Apostle says to his disciples, it should be with them in times of 
calamity and persecution. They were to arm themselves with that 
thought, and so to cease from sin, as those who were sharers in the 
sufferings and death of Christ, crucified, buried, risen again with 
Him, accepting pain, privation, ignominy, as working out a like 
purification in this present life. * * The words of the Apostle 
lead us to the belief of a capacity for repentance, faith, love — for 
growth, discipline, education in those who have passed away. We 
have no sufficient grounds for limiting the work on which they 
dwell to the representative instance or the time — boundaries, of 
which they speak. — E. H. Plumptre, D. D., Dean of Wells. 

The doctrine of the Church of Rome respecting the state of de- 
parted souls is, that the saints do not immediately pass into glory, 
but first go into a place called purgatory, where they are purified 
by fire from the stains of sin, which had not been washed out, dur- 
ing the present life. This doctrine, Protestants affirm, was unknown 
to the Church till the days of Gregory the Great, about the end of 
the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century ; but the way 
seems to have been prepared for it by certain opinions, which pre- 
vailed prior to that period, as we learn from the writings of the 
Fathers. A strange notion was entertained by some respecting 
the fire which will burn up the earth and its works ; that all should 
pass through it, that it would completely purify the bodies of those 
who were to be glorified, and that the more holy any person had 
been, he should feel the less pain from this process. With regard 
to the souls of the righteous they believed, that they were in a place 
of rest and enjoyment, but that they should not be admitted to the 
beatific vision till the resurrection was past. Hence arose the prac- 
tice of praying for the dead. Conceiving that the}- had not }'et 

Antaeus, one of the giants of the pit, tikiug Dante an I Vii'^il in his arms, plases them'at the 
ottom of the circle or shore, which is turretteJJwith giants. 


attaiiU'd lull fclicit)', (lu- AticuMits Ihoii'i;!!! Ihal tlu-y mii;lil he hciic- 
i'\[c(.\ by lluMr piaycMs, which would procure to thcui a iMcatcr 
(Ictjrce of enjoyment. AIthoui,di these ()[)ini()ns were lU material 
for fancy und superstition to woilc up into a still more extravagant 
form, tlu-y were widely dirferent from the doctrine afterwards estab- 
lished 1))' the Church of Rome as an aiticle ol I. nth. 

The prototype of Pur_i;atory is to l)e found in heatluMiism, from 
which have been borrowed the cumbersome ap[)aratus of cere- 
monies, and many of the rclit^ious o[)inions held by the ('hurch of 
Rome. Tiie existence of a puri^atory is plainly taut^ht in the writ- 
injjl^s of both poets and i)hilosophers. In the sixth book of the /I'.neid, 
Anchises explains to his son, who had visited him in the Shades, 
the process wliich souls wcrc^ doomed to undergo, before tliey could 
be admitted into the l''lysian fields, that they mifj^ht be freed from 
the stains of sin which adhered to them at death (/I'jieid VI. 
739" 74^^)- Some he says, are stretched out to the winds ; others 
are purified by beini;' plunti^ed into an immense whirlpool or lake ; 
and others are subjected to the operation of fire, (/ICneid VI. 743). 
In his dialoLjue entitled I'haedro, IMato informs us that when men 
enter into the invisible state, they are judged. Those who are 
neither truly virtuous, nor consummately wicked, are carried away 
to the Acherusian lake, where, having suffered the pnin'shmenl of 
their unjust deeds, they are dismissed, and then receive the reward 
of their good actions. Those who on account of the greatness of 
their sins, arc incurable, are cast into Tartarus, from which they 
shall never escape. Those who have committed curable sins and 
have repented, inust fall into Tartarus, but after a certain period 
they will be delivered from it. 

In both these passages, we have a very exact description of 
Purgatory ; and as there is no trace of it in the Bible, we concludi- 
that this is the source; from which it has been derived. The resem- 
blance appears more striking, if we reflect, that in both cases it rests 


precisely upon the same foundation, the curable and incurable sins 
of Plato, answering exactly to the venial and mortal sins of Roman 
Catholics. By mortal sins, they understand those which alienate 
men entirely from God, and are worthy of eternal death ; and they 
may be compared to those bodily wounds, which, by their own 
nature, cause the destruction of life. Venial sins do not turn away 
the sinner entirely from God, although they imper'e his approach 
to him ; and they may be expiated, because their nature is so light 
that they do not exclude a person from grace, or render him an 
enemy to God. Mortal sins are few, and even these are so ex- 
plained away, that scarcely one is left upon the list. All others are 
venial, or pardonable. They are expiated partly by penances in 
this life, and partly by the pains of purgatory, the place appointed 
for completing the atonement. 

Another distinction is made, with a view to support the doctrine 
concerning satisfaction for sin in the future state. The pardon of 
sin we understand to consist in the full remission of guilt or of the 
obligation to punishment, so that to the pardoned man there is no 
condemnation. Those who hold the doctrine of purgatory, take a 
different view. They affirm that there are two kinds of guilt, the 
guilt of the fault, and the guilt of the punishment. The former is 
remitted, and the latter is retained ; or in other words, the penitent 
sinner is absolved from the sentence of eternal death, but is still 
subject to temporal punishment. Thus speaks the Council of 
Trent : " If any man shall say, that after justification the fault is so 
remitted to a penitent sinner, or the guilt of eternal punishment is 
so blotted out, that there remains no guilt of temporal punishment 
to be endured, in this life or in the future life in purgatory, before 
he can be admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven ; let him be 
accursed." Now, purgatory is of the nature of a great penitentiary, 
into which the half-pardoned culprits are sent, that they may un- 
dergo the painful but wholesome discipline, by which they will 
be glorified for full restoration to the favor of God. 


The notion of purgatory seems so gross, that the com;"non sense 
of every man rejects it, unless perverted and overpowered by autho- 
rity and prejudice. Can a person have any idea in his mind, when 
he talks of souls being purified by fire ? Might he not, with equal 
propriety, speak of a spirit being nourished with bread and wine ? 
The soul is supposed on this theory to be a material substance, 
upon which fire can act, contrary to the belief even of the abettors 
of purgatory, who admit the spirituality of its essence. The whole 
fabric must therefore tumble to the ground. Purgatory is physi- 
cally impossible. — Dr. John Dick, (Lectures on Theology.) 

There can be no doubt that there does appear something very 
unnatural in introducing our Lord, in the midst of what is plainly 
a description of the results of his atoning sufferings, as having in 
the Spirit, by which he was quickened after he had been put to 
death, gone many centuries before, in the antediluvian age, to preach 
to an ungodly world ; and there is just as little doubt that the only 
meaning that the words will bear, without violence being done 
them, is, that it was when he had been put to death in the flesh and 
quickened in the Spirit, or by the Spirit, whatever that may mean, 
he went and preached ; and that " the Spirits," whoever they may 
be, were " in prison," whatever that may mean, when he preached 
to them. 

Interpreters holding in common that our Lord went down to 
Hades, are considerably divided as to what was his object in going 
there, as described or hinted at in the passage before us ; one class 
holding that he went to hell (Gehenna), the place of torment, to 
proclaim to fallen angels, who are kept there under chains of dark- 
ness, as the spirits in prison — (though how they could be said to be 
disobedient in the days of Noah does not appear, and besides these 
spirits seem plainly to belong to the same class of beings as " the 
souls" that were saved, verse 20) — to proclaim throughout that dis- 
mal region his triumph over them and their apostate chief ; another 
class holding that he went to this place of torment to announce his 


triumph over the powers of darkness, and to offer salvation through 
his death to those human spirits who had died in their sins ; a third 
class holding that he went to purgatory to release those who had 
been sufficiently improved by their disciplinary sufferings, and to 
remove them to paradise ; and a fourth class who translate " the 
spirits in prison," " the spirits in safe keeping," holding that he went 
to paradise, the residence of the separate spirits of good men, to 
announce to them the glad tidings, that the great salvation, which 
had been the object of their faith and hope, was now completed. 

Each of these varieties of interpretation is attended with its 
own difficulties, which appear to me insuperable. Some of them 
go upon principles obviously and demonstratively false ; and all of 
them attempt to bring much out of the words which plainly is not 
in them. It seems incredible, if such events as are darkly hinted 
at, rather than distinctly described in these words thus interpreted, 
had taken place, that we should have no account of them, indeed, 
no certain allusion to them in any other part of Scripture. It seems 
quite unaccountable why the separate spirits of those who had 
lived in the days of Noah, and perished in the deluge, are specially 
mentioned, as those among the inhabitants of the unseen world, to 
whom the quickened Redeemer went and preached, the much 
greater multitude who, before that time and since that time, had 
gone down to the land of darkness, being passed by without notice. 
And what will weigh much with a judicious student of Scripture is, 
that it is impossible to perceive how these events, supposing them 
to have taken place, were, as they are represented by the construc- 
tion of the language to be, the effects of Christ's suffering for sins 
in the room of sinners, and how these statements at all serv^e to 
promote the apostle's practical object, which was to persuade per- 
secuted Christians patiently and cheerfully to submit to sufferings 
for righteousness sake, from the consideration, exemplified in the 
case of our Lord, that suffering in a good cause, and in a right spirit, 
however severe, was calculated to lead to the happiest results. No 


interpretation, we apprefiend, can be the right one, which docs not 
correspond with the obvious construction of the passage, and with 
the avowed design of the writer. Keeping these general principles 
steadily in view, I proceed now to state, as briefly, and as plainK' 
as I can what appears to me the probal:)le meaning of this difficult 
passage, "a passage" as Leighton says "somewhat obscure in 
itself" but as it usually falls, made more so by the various fancies 
and contests of interpreters aiming or pretending to clear it." 

The first consequence of those penal, vicarious expiatory suffer- 
ings which Christ, the just One, endured b)^ the appointment of his 
Father, the righteous Judge, for sins in the room of the unjust, 
noticed here is, that he " was put to death in the flesh." But his 
becoming thus bodily dead and powerless was not more certain!}- 
the effect of his penal, vicarious, expiatory, sufferings, than the 
second circumstance here mentioned, his " being quickened in the 

The spiritual life, and power conferred on the Saviour as the 
/award of his disinterested labors in the cause of God's honor and 
man's salvation, were illustriously manifested in that wonderful 
quickening of his apostles by the communication of the Holy Ghost 
rn the day of Pentecost ; and in communicating through the in- 
strumentality of their ministry spiritual life, and all its concomit- 
ant and following blessings, to multitudes of souls dead in sins. 

It is to this, I apprehend, that the Apostle refers, when he says, 
"by which," or "whereby ;" by this spiritual quickening, or "wherefor" 
being thus spiritually quickened, " he went and preached to the 
spirits in prison, who beforetime were disobedient." If our general 
scheme of interpretation is well founded, there can be no doubt as 
to who those " spirits in prison " are. They are not human spirits, 
confined in bodies like so many prisons, as a punishment for sin in 
some previous state of being ; that is a heathenish doctrine, to which 
Scripture, rightly interpreted, gives no sanction ; but sinful men 
righteously condemned, the slaves and captives of Satan, shackled 



with the fetters of sin. Those arc the captives to whom the Mes- 
siah, " anointed by the spirit of the Lord," that is, just in other 
words, "quickened in the spirit," was to proclaim Hbcrty, the bound 
ones to whom he was to announce the opening of the prison. 

It is not unnatural, then, that g'uilty and depraved men should 
be represented as captives in prison ; but the phrase, " spirits in 
prison," seems a strange one for spiritually captive men. It is so ; 
but the use of it, rather than the word " men " in prison, or prison- 
ers, seems to have grown out of the previous phrase, " quickened in 
spirit." He who was quickened in the spirit had to do with the 
spirits of men, with men as spiritual beings. This seems to have 
given a color to the whole passage ; the eight persons saved from 
the deluge are termed eight " souls." But then it seems as if the 
spirits in prison, to whom our Lord, quickened in spirit, is repre- 
sented as coming and preaching, were the unbelieving generation 
who li\-ed before the flood, '' the spirits in prison, who aforetime 
were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the 
days of Noah." 

This difficulty is not a formidable one. This stumbling block 
may easily be removed. " Spirits, in prison," is a phrase character- 
istic of men in all ages. We see nothing perplexing in the state 
ment, " God .sent the gospel to the Britons, who in the days oi 
Caesar were painted savages ;" the persons to whom God sent the 
gospel, were not the same individuals who were painted savages in 
the days of Caesar, but they belonged to the same race. Neither 
should we find anything perplexing in the statement, Jesus Christ 
came, and preached to spiritually captive men, who were hard to be 
convinced in former times, especially in the days of Noah. The 
reason why there is reference to the disobedience of men in former 
times and especially in the days of Noah, will probably come out 
in the course of our future illustrations. 

Having endeavored to dispose of these verbal difficulties, let us 
now attend to the sentiment contained in the words " lesus Christ, 



spiritually quickened, came and preached to the spirits in prison, 
who in time past were disobedient." The coming and preaching 
describe not what our Lord did " bodily," but what he did spiritu- 
ally, not what he did personally, but what he did by the instru- 
mentality of others. Thus then, is Christ, quickened in consequence 
of his suffering, the just one in the room of the unjust, going and 
preaching to the spirits in prison. 

There are two subsidiary ideas in reference to this preaching of 
Christ quickened in the spirit, to the spirits in prison, that ire sug- 
gested by the words of the apostle, and these are : the success of 
his preaching, and the extent of that success. These spirits in 
prison had " aforetime been disobedient." Christ had preached 
to them not only by Noah, but by all the prophets, for the spirits 
in the prophets was "the spirit of Christ;" but he had preached in 
a great measure in vain. But now, Jesus Christ being quickened 
by the spirit, and quickening others by the spirit, the consequence 
was, "the disobedient were turned to the wisdom of the just," and 
" the spirits in prison " appeared a people made ready, prepared, 
for the Lord. The word attended by the spirit, in consequence of 
the shedding of the blood of the covenant, had free course, and was 
glorified, and " the prisoners were sent forth out of the pit wherein 
there was no water." The prey was taken from the mighty, tlir 
captive of the terrible one was delivered. 

The sealed among the tribes of Israel were a hundred forty and 
four thousand, and the converted from among the nations, the 
people taken out from among the Gentiles, to the name of Jehovah, 
formed an innumerable cc^mpany, " a multitude which no man 
could number, out of every kindred, and people, and tribe and 
nation." It was not then, " as in the days of Noah, when few, that 
is, eight souls were saved " — multitudes heard and knew the joyful 
sound ; the shackles dropped from their limbs, and they walked at 
libcrt}', keeping God's commandments. And still does the fountain 


of life spring up in tiic quickened Redeemer's heart, and well forth 
giving life to the world. Still does the great Deliverer prosecute 
his glorious work of spiritual emancipation. Still is he going and 
preaching to the "spirits in prison;" and though all have not 
obeyed, yet many already have obeyed, m.any are obeying, many 
more will yet obey. — Dr. John Brown. (Expository discourses 
on first Peter.) 

The difficult passage, ist Peter 3, v. 18-19, however it may be 
interpreted, proves nothing against the Protestant doctrine, that 
the souls of believers do at death immediately pass into glory. 
What happens to ordinary men, happened to Christ when He died. 
His cold and lifeless body was laid in the tomb. His human soul 
passed into the invisible world. This is all that the creed, com- 
monly called the Apostle's, means, when it says Christ was buried, 
and descended into Hell, or Hades, the unseen world. This is all 
that the passage in question clearly teaches. Men may doubt and 
differ as to what Christ did during the three days of his sojourn in 
the invisible world. They may differ as to who the spirits were to 
whom he preached, or rather made proclamation : whether they 
were the Antediluvians ; or the souls of the people of God detained 
in Sheol ; or the mass of the dead of all antecedent generations and 
of all nations, which is the favorite hypothosis of modern interpre- 
ters. They may differ also as to what the proclamation was which 
Christ made to those imprisoned spirits : whether it was the gospel ; 
or his own triumph ; or deliverance from Sheol ; or the coming 
judgment. However these subordinate questions may be decided, 
all that remains certain is that Christ, after his death upon the 
cross, entered the invisible world, and there, in some way, made 
proclamation of what He had done on earth. All this is very far 
from teaching the doctrine of a " Limbus Patrum," as taught by the 
Jews, the Fathers, or the Romanists, — Dr. Charles Hodge, 
(Theology, vol. 3, p. 716.) 


Those verses read, in the revised version, as follows : " Christ 
also suffered for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he 
might bring us to God ; being put to death in the flesh, but quick- 
ened in the spirit ; in which also he went and preached unto the 
spirits in prison, which aforetime were disobedient, when the long- 
suffering God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a 

Of these words Prof Dorner says, that what is here said of our 
Lord is to be regarded as the application of the benefit of his atone- 
ment, as seems to be intimated by " the preaching " among the 
departed. The same conclusion from the words is also drawn by 
Dean Alford, and by many others. Prof Dorner adds that this 
descent into Hades, expresses the universality of Christ's signifi- 
cance, also for former generations and for the entire kingdom of 
the dead. The distinction between earlier and later generations, 
between the time of ignorance and the time of knowledge of him- 
self is done away by Christ. * * The future world, like 
the present, is the scene of his activity." 

All this is exceedingly plausible, but still we cannot see that 
these words really prove a possible offer of Christ to the departed 
heathen or to any others. Many, as is well known, have doubted 
whether these words really refer to any descent of Christ into 
Hades, and not rather to a work done by Christ by his spirit, in 
the days of Noah. With such we do not agree, but only remark 
in passing that if these interpreters after all should be right, then 
plainly this passage drops from the list of those which can by any 
possibility be referred to the case before us. We assume, however, 
that these words do really describe a work of Christ during the 
three days of his existence after his crucifixion in the intermediate 
state, as the majority of modern evangelical exegetes maintain. But 
that the conclusion which is drawn therefrom, in fav^or of the doc- 
trine of a future offer of Christ to those who have died in sin, 


follows from this interpretation — this \vc must certainly deny, and 
that on the following grounds. 

In the first place, it must be observed that at present we have 
to do with those who refer us to this passage, in proof that the 
gospel will be preached to all the heathen, who have never heard 
of Christ in this life, while they yet profess to believe that it will 
not be thus offered hereafter, to those who have had the offer of 
salvation in the present life. 

As thus applied, we answer that this passage cannot be thus 
restricted in its application. If it teach an offer of sal\-ation to 
any, it must teach it for ALL the impenitent. For those who arc 
particularly mentioned as the objects of this preaching of Christ, are 
not those who had not the offer of salvation in this life. Thc\' arc 
explicitly said to be those, "who were aforetime disobedient in the 
days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing." They were persons 
therefore, to whom Noah, the preacher of righteousness, had already 
in their lifetime faithfully made known the saving truth of God, 
and who had rejected it. The obvious conclusion from this, accord- 
ing to the principles of Prof Dorner and others, is not merely that 
the Gospel will be preached after death to men who did not in 
this life hear the Gospel, but that it will be preached also to those 
who did here have the Gospel offered and rejected it. But this in- 
terpretation would bring the passage into direct contradiction with 
the words in Luke xvi. 26, which so plainly tell us that those who, 
like the rich man, have in this life the revelation of God, and reject 
it to live a worldly life, are at their death separated from those 
who are saved, by a gulf so deep and broad that no man can cross 
it. If, then, the words of Peter cannot be taken to teach a possi- 
bility of salvation after death, for those who in this life have the 
Gospel and reject it, what right has any one to make it teach this 
for the other class who had not the Gospel, to whom there is no 
allusion in these verses ? 


In the second place, it is assumed by Prof. Dorncr and others, 
that the word " to proclaim," which is here employed, must refer to 
a proclamation of the Gospel. This meaning" of the word is essen- 
tial to their argument. If thus standing by itself, it cannot be 
proved to mean the preaching of the Gospel, then future probation 
cannot be proved from thcje verses. But for this assumption 
neither the context nor the usage of this verb in the New Testa- 
ment affords any warrant. The passage simply states that there 
was a proclamation made by Christ to the persons named ; that it 
was a proclamation of mercy, offered for the salvation of those who 
heard it, is not so much as hinted in the text. Nor does the word 
in the New Testament, when standing by itself, as here, ever 
denote the preaching of the Gospel, but only proclamation in gen- 
eral. The only exceptions are in those cases where the Gospel, as 
the subject of the proclamation, can be supplied from the context. 
This can be seen by any one in a Concordance. To assume, then, 
that this word here, without anything in the context which should 
supply the idea of the Gospel, should yet by itself denote the 
preaching of the Gospel, is in contradiction to the usage of the 
word. The issue is quite too serious to base an argument upon an 
unproved exception to general usage. 

Yet again, even if we waive this argument also, and admit that 
as a solitary exception to the ordinary usage of the word, this verb 
here denotes a proclamation of the Gospel, still the doctrine of a 
possible salvation of any after death will not yet be established. 
For though we should grant that the proclamation made to those 
antediluvian sinners was a proclamation of our Lord's redemp- 
tive work, yet it would not follow that such proclamation MUST 
have been made with a view to their salvation. This is not true 
of all preaching of the Gospel, even in this present life. W'c 
are told in so many words, for example, that this was not the pur- 
pose of the preaching of the word of God by Ezekiel. For it is 
written that the Lord said unto him, " Go, get thee unto the house 

2S0 FUTURl': I'LNl.^llMl.N .. 

"f Israel, and speak with my words unto them : but the)- will not 
hearken unto thcc : fcjr tliey will not hearken unto me." If a proc- 
lamation of the great work of redemption was really made by our 
Lord between his death and resurrection in the world of lost spirits, 
God may easily have had therein good and sufficient reasons, other 
tlian the saK-ation of those who when living had chosen to please 
themselves rather than to please him. 

But it is argued that the words in the sixth verse of the next 
chapter teach, that the preaching was in order to the salvation of 
those who heard it. That verse reads in the revised version : " For 
unto this end was the gospel preached even to the dead, that the)- 
might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according 
to God in the Spirit." In this verse, we are told, the reference 
is still to the antediluvian sinners, mentioned in the previous chap- 
ter, and that the proclamation of the previous chapter is here more 
prccisel)- defined as a proclamation of the Gospel ; and that this 
preaching of the Gospel, moreover, is there plainly said to be, " that 
the)' might li\-e according to God in the spirit." Whence, it is 
argued, this makes it perfectly clear that the Gospel was preached 
by our Lord after he was put to death in the flesh and quickened 
in the spirit in the world of the dead, to the antediluvian sinners, 
and that this was done for their salvation ; whence, again, it is 
inferred that this life docs not end the opportunity for salvation. 

In considering this verse it is of importance to observe, that it 
is not said in this passage nor in the context that the dead of this 
verse are the dead antediluvians spoken of in chap. 3rd. This is 
merely an inference of expositors. That such a reference is in itsell 
I)Ossiblc, need not be denied, but it will not do to assume it without 
proof When we look for proof of this, it is not eas)- to find. On 
the contrary, there is much that points to an entirely different refer- 
'•nce of the words. The very terms of the passage seem to forbid 
'..s to apply them to the dead of the da)-s of Noah. For it will not 
do to talce only the last half of the final clause, — "that they mii^ht 


be judged according ^o men in the flesh." This last-mentioned 
clause is in the same grammatical construction with the latter clause 
of the verse. It states no less than that clause, a part of the pur- 
pose of the preaching here mentioned. The Gospel, we are herein 
told, was preached to the dca'], not ONLY in order that they might 
live according to God in the spirit, BUT ALSQ that they might be 
judged according to men in the flesh, — for the latter purpose, as 
much as for the former. But what possible meaning can we attacli 
to the former half of the final clause, if we apply it to the case of 
(liose who were destroyed in the days of Noah ? If the "judgment 
according to men " be assumed, as it commonly is, to be the fleshl)- 
judgment of the deluge, then what is meant by calling that judg- 
ment a judgment " according to men ?" And, again, assuming that 
that is the meaning, then what can be meant by saying, as this 
makes the passage say, that Christ in his three days in the world 
of the dead preached the Gospel to those dead antediluvians in 
order " that they might be destroyed in the deluge," whish deluge 
or "judgment according to men " occurred more than two thousand 
years before the preaching which is supposed to be the subject of 
discourse ? 

Last of all, if we assume this interpretation, what bearing can it 
be shown to have on the argument of the context in which the verse 
occurs ? The purport of that argument is to encourage the Chris- 
tians of that time to arm themselves witii the martyr spirit, in view 
of " the fiery trial which was to try some of them," wherein they 
would be called upon to suffer for Christ's sake. What could a 
preaching of the Gospel to the dead antediluvians have to do 
with that? 

For these reasons, even though we should grant that the pass- 
age in chapter iii. refers to a proclamation of the Qospel made by 
Christ to those who perished in the deluge, we should still be com- 
pelled to deny that these words in chapter iv. could refer to the 
same event. Let the adjective dead, be referred to those who had 


.ilrcady suffered martyrdom for Christ's sake, and all these difricul- 
ties disappear. In the first place, as we have seen, the preaching 
must have preceded in time the judgment according to men in the 
flesh, because it is said to have been IN ORDER TO that judgment 
in the flesh. It must therefore have been a preaching to persons 
who were dead in deed at the time Peter was writing, but who at 
the time of the preaching here mentioned were alive. For how- 
could they have been judged in the flesh after they were dead ? 
The passage thus states, as we understand it, that the Gospel was 
preached to certain persons who had already suffered martyrdom 
for Christ's sake and were now numbered with the dead, in order 
that they might by a human judgment be condemned, and thus b\- 
suffering glorify their Master, in thus becoming conformed to .him 
in suffering and death. But to continue the paraphrase — God had 
yet another purpose in causing his Gospel to be preached to these 
persons ; it was no less in order that they might also live according 
to God in the spirit ; that is, that their death might be followed b}- 
the same glorious result as the death upon the cross of the Lord 
Jesus, — a making alive in the spirit, and that unto glory everlasting. 

Thus interpreted, the words form an argument of the greatest 
pertinence to the object that the apostle has before him in the con- 
text. For what greater encouragement to them to suffer with jo}-- 
ful faith and courage a martyr's death, than to remind them of those 
who had already fallen in like manner, and who, although thus 
judged and condemned in the flesh by a human judgment, had 
entered into a higher life according to God in the spirit, therein in 
death and life becoming more closely conformed to the Lord Jesus. 

Finally, while to our own mind these considerations seem quite 
decisive against the interpretation which makes Peter teach that 
the Gospel was preached on the occasion mentioned to the dead 
for their salvation ; yet even if all thus far said be set aside as in- 
conclusive, still the inference of a future offer of salvation to the 
heathen or to all will not yet be justified. For even though we 


should admit what the text does not say, that the Gospel was 
preached by Christ during his three days in Hades to the antedi- 
luvian sinners, and that some or all were saved by it, which also 
the text does not say ; still this would not give us any adequate 
warrant for the inference that the Gospel will be preached in the 
intermediate state to any others, or at any other time. It has in- 
deed been urged that there is no mention of this work of preach- 
ing to the dead having ceased, and therefore we may rightly infer 
that it has not ceased. But surely it were much more reasonable 
to argue that as there is no indication that this proclamation, what- 
ever it was, continued for a longer time than the three days that 
our Lord remained in the disembodied state, therefore we have no 
right to assume that it continued longer. For the conditions under 
which the Gospel was offered to those souls at that time — assum- 
ing, contrary to fact, as we believe, that it was offered — were abso- 
lutely unique. Never had there been an occasion like that of the 
descent of the disembodied soul of the incarnate Son of God intc 
[fades, and, in the nature of the case, there never will be such an 

>;casion again. 

Looking at the practical aspect of the question, must we not 
siy , with abundant reason, that in the face of such clear words as 
t lose of Christ concerning that impassable gulf between the right- 
eo is and the wicked in the other world, the man who on any such 

o isiderations as we have reviewed, neglects to make sure of his 
salvation in this present life, is what the Bible so often calls the 
sinner, a " fool "? Again, what must we say to those who on the 
ground of any such arguments, venture to hold forth to sinners the 
hope of a second chance after death to repent and accept Christ ? 
And what, of any who for like reasons excuse themselves from the 
most earnest efforts to carry or send the gospel to the unevangel- 
ized ? Is there not great reason to fear that such will find them- 
selves in the last day with the blood of souls upon their skirts ? 
Professor S. H. Kellogg. (Presbyterian Review, April 1885.) 


'One Christmas Eve, in mediaeval times, 
Philip Von Sternberg, one who strove to know 
The enigma of the worlds of Fact and Thought, 
Sat in th.e midnight, while his lamp burned dim, 
Like his own unfed spirit. To the east 
A window, frosted, in the wintry night, 
With ghosts of plumy flowers and tropic ferns 
Seemed, of a sudden, lighted by a beam 
Which was not dawn or moonlight, but a star 
Unseen before ; and, gliding through the glass, 
An angel stood, more radiant than the mora. 
" Surely this is Athene," thought the sage 
In his mute wonder. "Will she give to me 
The key to unlock the secret of the world ?" 
Lowly he bowed his head, and waited there 
The word divine philosophers of old 
Gave their life's strength to hear, but never heard. 
" Philip" — the Presence seemed to say to him — 
Seek not to solve the riddle of the world. 
Shut in thy labyrinth of circling thought. 
Life, life alone, in deeds of use and love. 
Can free thee from the dungeon of thy thougnts. 
He knoweth the truth who doth the Master's will." 

"Thenceforth, the scholar, self-involved, was lost ; 
Philip, the working saint, appeared — and lived 
A life which was a steady train of light. 
Whose radiance drowned the darting swarms of doubts 
As the sun drowns the meteors' earthward fires." 

"The invisible things of him from the creation of tlic world are 
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even 
his eternal power and Godhead ; so that thcv are without excuse." 


EFORE concentrating our attention upon Universalism, 
pure and simple, all that now remains is to refer to 
the Agnostic theory, which we have already defined, 
as follows : " We know nothing whatever of the future 
state. Nature throws no light upon the question, and the 
s^ Bible reveals nothing of a definite character to solve the 
mystery. No one has ever come back to tell us anything in regard 
to his welfare beyond the grave. We are, therefore, at liberty to 
think as we please. There may be, and there may not be, a future 
world. When man dies that may be the end of him, or he may 
enter some fair land, to be forever free from the ills of the pres- 
ent life." 

It is to be remarked that the term Agnosticism embraces every 
shade of atheistic and infidel opinion. It has never, indeed, been 
authoritatively defined. Like the Athenians, it is "an unknown 
God " that Agnostics worship, if they worship a god at all, and so 
varied are the shades of belief held by its advocates, and so much 
do they differ as to a creed, that no specific definition can be given 
as to their real views. 

As Dr. Robert Watts, of Belfast, however, remarks. Agnosticism 
goes far beyond its Athenian prototype. The altar, which Paul 
found at Athens was dedicated "to an unknown God." The Athe- 
nians simply confessed a present ignorance of God : the Agnostics 
add to this nescient creed an article couched in the language of 


eternal despair, which places between moral intelligence of what- 
soever order, and the source whence it is admitted they and all 
things proceed, a gulf which is absolutely impassable. While the 
Athenian motto was "IGNORAMUS," we are ignorant, that of the 
Agnostics is " IGNORAMIBUS," we shall be ignorant. 

In the second century we find "the Gnostics" — the rrien who 
know : in the nineteenth the Agnostics," the men who do not know, 
and who boast of their ignorance. The Gnostics held that man 
could know something beyond the present ; — that God is made 
known to particular men, or to rhen at particular times, but only in 
virtue of a specially imparted powder of vision. The Agnostics hold 
that beyond the testimony of the senses, and the range of experi- 
ence, he knovvs and can know nothing. " The vision of God which he 
sees is but his own shadow : the sight of heaven which he beholds 
is but his own dream ;" — that the existence of any faculty for 
knowing God is a delusion ; and that of all that transcends the 
data furnished by observation and consciousness, there is nothing 
but total and hopeless ignorance. The Gnostics held that man pos- 
sessed a faculty, which far transcended the natural reason, and by 
which he had knowledge of the supernatural. The Agnostic denies 
to man all knowledge of the infinite and supernatural. The future 
world is shrouded in impenetrable mystery. Agnostics refuse to be- 
lieve in the cardinal doctrines of the Christian creed, such as the exist- 
ence of God and a future state, because as they allege, the human 
mind is inherently and constitutionally incapable of ascertaining 
anything concerning such things, and of deciding what may be true 
and what may be false. While David Hume, the atheistical Scotch 
philosopher, regarded the soul as neither material or spiritual, on 
the theory that we know nothing either of matter or spirit except 
as momentary impressions, the Agnostic says : " I believe neither 
in mind nor matter, nor in a God.' 

Agnosticism is not a new heresy, but has been held more or 
less in every age, although now more promincntl)' avowed. Call it 


by its older names, Nescience or Nihilism or its newer appellation 
it is the same — it affirms we know nothing. While Atheists deny 
the existence of a God possessing the attributes of omnipotence, 
intelligence and will. Agnostics say, that the nature of, or existence 
of any God, is unknowable. That there may or must be, some 
kind of iirst cause to account for the existence and order of the 
universe, Agnostics seem to admit. But instead of the language of 
Scripture, " In the beginning God created the heaven and the 
earth," they say, " an infinite and eternal energy by which all things 
are created and sustained," or according to the latest Agnostic 
creed, " An infinite and eternal energy from which all things pro- 
ceed." The Agnostic creed is as follows : 

" We believe in the conversation of the physical forces, in the law 
of evolution, and in the dissipation of energy. We believe in such 
other results of science as are known to us. But beyond this, 
nothing as to the powers in the world is clear to us. We know 
nothing about individual immortality ; nothing about any endless 
future progress of our species ; nothing about the certainty that 
what men call from without goodness, must empirically triumph 
just here in this little world about us. xA.ll that is dark. 

"We confine ourselves to what we know : we do not venture into 
the unknowable. We do not ask about the first cause of the world, 
or whether it has a final end. We do not busy ourselves with the 
beginning of the universe, if the universe had a beginning, nor yet 
with what happens to living things, plants, animals or men after 
their death. We do not deny that there may be a God : we only 
deny the existence of such a one as the Bible sets forth. We attack 
only the gods whom barbarous peoples have fashioned in their own 
imaginations and set up for our worship, and not any high or noble 
conception of a Deity. We fully admit the existence of a great 
and mysterious power or force in the universe which we cannot 
understand or comprehend. We believe in the great UNKNOWN 
and Unknowable, and have no attack to make upon this power, 


no word of ridicule, no blasphemy ; but stand in its presence with 
reverence and awe, acknowledging our ignorance. While, however, 
acknowledging this unseen Power, we decline to anthropomorphise 
it — to call it a PERSON or BEING, and invest it with mental and 
moral functions similar to our own, differing only in degree not 
in kind. 

" Beyond this universe, all knowledge is a blank. We know 
nothing as to what set this vast moving mechanism in motion ; it 
may have moved from all eternity : it may go on moving ever- 
lastingly, or it may wear itself out." 

The Marquis of Oueensberry, who was rejected by the British 
House of Lords because he was an avowed Agnostic, in replying 
recently to Monsignor Capel, the distinguished Roman Catholic 
lecturer, gives the following, as the latest definition of the Agnostic 
creed : " The Agnostic has never said there is no divine, almighty 
inscrutable power, which, to the orthodox mind, would amount to 
the same thing as saying, ' There is no God." He may object to 
the word God. He does so, in fact, when he perceives how many 
different impressions the word conveys in its attempted definition 
of an unknown power. Not because he denies the existence of 
some almighty, inscrutable power, but because he objects to the 
giving a name, such as God is, to that which he believes to be un- 
deftnable — aye, unthinkable of — by man. And in doing this he 
conveys the wrong impression to the orthodox mind — viz. : that he 
is denying the possibility of the existence of any such power that 
may be unknown. The question then, really, between the ortho- 
dox thinker and the Agnostic is not a question of the denial of the 
possible existence of an inscrutable power, but a squabble over the 
right of attempting to define it." 

Thus the Agnostic, unlike the Atheist who boldly says " there 
is no God," tries to keep his mind in this suspended state of doubt, 
yielding neither to the evidences that God is, nor to the theories 
which would account for the universe without a God. A century 


ago men were more positive, in their convictions and avowals. The 
revolutionary Atheists of France, issued a decree prohibiting the 
worship of God, dethroning him from His supremacy, and in the 
Cathedral of Notre- Dame knelt before a new deity of their own 
selection, the Goddess of Reason, personified by a degraded woman. 
In the language of Coleridge depicting the blasphemy of that age : 

" Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-placc, 
(Portentous sight !) the owlet Atheism, 
Sailing on obscene wings, athwart the noon. 
Drops his blue-fringed lids and holds them close. 
And hooting at the glorious sun in heaven cries out, 
' Where is it ?' " 

But Agnosticism stops short of such an honest declaration of 
its creed. It falls back upon the ignorance of man as to what lies 
back of the outward appearance of things. It acknowledges the 
facts and forces of the universe, but denies that we can go behind 
them and affirm anything positive of their origin. " Every house is 
built by some man," says the Theist. " Yes," replies the Agnostic, 
" but as to who or what built all things we do not know, for we 
were not there." 

Yet such men deny that they are Atheists. They only ignore 
God. Belief in a supreme Being was perhaps a useful hypothesis, 
in the ages prior to civilization and culture, but the better judgment 
of men now sees in nature, sufficient to account for all the material 
and moral changes in the world. Belief in a personality that sur- 
vives the grave, is now an exploded dogma, and trust in a God of 
omnipotent power and infinite wisdom, is no longer regarded as a 
requisite to man's happiness. Like the prayer said to have been 
offered by a soldier on the eve of battle, the Agnostic says : " O God, 
if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul !" Agnostics reject 
all forms of religion, yet claim to be religious. They cannot wor- 
ship in a Christian church, but they can bow the head before that 
Great Unknown of which they are assured only that IT IS. They 


look on with pitying eye at men limiting themselves by their creeds, 
and hindering the day of their emancipation, but anticipate hope- 
fully a time when culture shall have taken the place of ignorance, 
and men will reverence more and more the phenomenal and the 
unknown NOUMENAL behind it, and gradually the one creed that 
will rise on the ruins of all others will be, that " amid all the mys- 
teries, which become more mysterious the more they are thought 
about, there will remain the one absolute certainty, that man is ever 
in the presence of an Infinite and Eternal Energy, from which all 
things proceed." 

One Is amazed to understand how intelligent men, far less such 
as profess a profound knowledge of the advanced science and phil- 
osophy of the age, can subscribe to such a creed, and endeavor to 
urge its acceptance upon others. " Hopeless, because Godless," in 
the language of the apostle, is its characteristic. Hitherto ignor- 
ance of God has been regarded as a calamity or a sin. Now it is 
taught to be a necessity of reason. Agnosticism is formulated as 
a Philosophy, defended as a Theology, and hallowed as a Religion. 
It is not to be denied as Dr. McCosh remarks, that Mr. Herbert 
Spencer, one of the prominent apostles of this system, has advanced 
certain bold generalizations, that may in the end be established as 
the profoundest laws of the knowable universe. " But starting with 
the unknown and unknowable, he sets agoing a mechanical devel- 
opement out of physical data. In which there is no requirement of 
moral law and no free will, the whole ending in a conflagration, 
having as the ashes only the unknown and unknowable with which 
it started." Principal Caird of the University of Glasgow says : 

"If this philosophy be true, It is the apotheosis of zero, its high- 
est type of religion would be sheer vacuity of mind, and of all human 
beings the Idiot would be the most devout. The God of whom It 
proves us to be ignorant is not the God either of reason or of reve- 
lation — nor our Infinitely wise, holy, loving, gracious Father in the 
Heavens, who has manifested Himself, His very nature and being, 


in the perfect manhood of Christ — but a mere metaphysical ab- 
straction, loveless, lifeless, inane, of whom you can neither affirm 
anything nor deny anything ; who may, therefore, be just as likely 
foolish as wise, malignant as benign, evil as good. Who cares to 
be told that we labor under an inherent incapacity of knowing such 
a God ? These teachers come to us with an air of humility ; their 
philosophy is vaunted as the suppressor of all pride of reason. 
" Vain man would be wise," say they ; " but, henceforth, let intellec- 
tual arrogance hide its head. Let not human reason presume to 
erect itself into the criterion of truth, or to scan the being and 
ways of the Infinite !" But there is no real lesson of humility in 
such teaching. It IS a humiliating acknowledgment that through 
indolence or moral obliquity we lack a knowledge which we might 
have possessed, but there is no humility in confessing a necessary 
and involuntary ignorance. It does not imply any great meekness 
of spirit in a man to admit that he cannot fly, or walk on the sea, 
or that he does not possess a 7th, or loth, or 20th sense — for all 
these are natural incapacities which distinguish no one man from his 
neighbors. And so it is not humiliating to acknowledge, with our 
philosophers, that we do not know that which no mortal, no finite 
being, by any conceivable effort could ever know." 

It is not indeed difficult to summarize certain consequences that 
must follow the acceptance of such a creed. To deny that God is 
a person, naturally and logically leads to the denial of man's per- 
sonality. " He is only a highly-developed set of phenomena flower- 
ing out from a hidden root — the unknowable unknown." Next, the 
denial of a God must, to be consistent, be followed by the denial of 
a future state. Agnosticism teaches that of another life there are 
no tidings and few suggestions — a possibility, or perhaps a proba- 
bility, but no hope. Even this possibility is denied by many, and 
the probability against such a life argued as a certainty. All the 
analogies of nature are interpreted to prove the extinction of man's 
being at the moment of death. No God, or none that can be 


known, or worshipped, or loved ; no soul, nothing but a succession 
of experiences proceeding under an inevitable law ; no immortality ; 
nothing but a future influence as useless as our lives, since it pro- 
ceeds from shadows, and only shadows are to be influenced by it ; 
no eternal laws of right and wrong ; no blame for guilt, or praise 
for patient, self-denying service ; no religion, and no true, high and 
hopeful life, for either the here or the hereafter — this is the creed of 
the creedless Agnostic, the belief of unbelievers, for which wc arc 
asked to give up the faith and worship of our fathers. 

It is true that all Agnostics do not hold all the articles of this 
creed of unbelief Perhaps very few do. But that is because they 
are not logical. He who accepts the premises — no power in me to 
perceive the invisible — cannot logically stop short of the conclusion : 
no God, no soul, no immortal future, no right and wrong, for these 
are all invisible. When we have thrown faith away, logic can give 
us for a God only a hypothetical IT ; for a conscious personality, a 
succession of phantasmagoria ; for a triumphant immortality. Nir- 
vana ; and for Right and Wrong, eternal and immutable, a supreme 
allegiance of conscience (if there be a conscience) to the commu- 
nity. There is, in a word, no true resting place between the full 
faith of the Christian in the Christian's Father-God, and the abso- 
lute negation of all faith, the sorrowful contentment of a mind 
which has emptied itself of all hope, and is at rest only because it 
has ceased to strive against a fate which is as inexorable as it 
is cruel. 

In perfect consistency then. Agnostics teach that another life 
would be of no value, that it is weak and ignoble to expect it, and 
that an ideal existence in the lives of others by the continuance ot 
our thoughts and activities, is all that is necessary to complete and 
perfect man's destiny. In an account given of a funeral service in 
New York City conducted by Professor Felix Adler, an apostle of 
this new philosophy, these words occur : " I am here in the name of 
you all, to pronounce the last words of farewell : Friends, I say the 


last word — a long, sweet good night "! And more recently when 
Dr. Damrosch the great musician died, and the coffin lay before 
the vast audience which filled the Metrooolitan Opera House from 
floor to dome, and he is called upon to speak to the solemn and sor- 
rowing hearts in that vast assembly, this is all his message : " I 
have come to lay upon this bier three wreaths. The wreath of 
success : he had just grasped it when death paralyzed his arm, and 
it dropped from his helpless hand. I pick it up and lay it on his 
bier. The wreath of fame : his name we will cherish though he is 
gone ; he is no more, but the memory of his honored life lives on. 
The wreath of an earthly immortality : we may not see his face 
again, but his influence survives him, and shall reproduce his spirit 
in our earthly lives." What a barren consolation beside the prom- 
ise, "In my Father's house are many mansions ; I go to prepare a 
place for you ; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come 
again, that where I am, there ye may be also ;" or beside the tri- 
umphant Welcome to a death no longer grim : " This corruptible 
must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 
Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? 
O grave, where is thy victory ?" 

It is freely admitted that there are many things, matters of 
divine revelation, which must be accepted by faith,or not at all, which 
the human mind cannot understand or grasp. We see them but 
through a glass darkly, and only know them in part. Such doc- 
trines as the Trinity, the origin of evil, the method of the Spirit's 
operations upon the soul, embracing God's sovereignty and man's 
free agency — the state of the disembodied between death and the 
resurrection, the nature of the resurrection body, the manner and 
time of the Lord's return to earth, the heavenly state and the nature 
of future punishment — these are only outlined to human concep- 
tion, a dark veil prevents us entering the holy shrine, where such 
things belong ; "they are placed behind a crystal banner, transpar- 
ent but strong," so that however reverently we may study them, we 
cannot handle them and examine them on every side. 


"But to know that we know nothing, is already to have reached 
a fact of knowledge. When a man says, that the Power which rules 
the universe is inscrutable to him, he is not merely making a state- 
ment that he knows nothing about it — he is making a positive and 
not a negative statement : he is declaring that the Power which 
rules the universe has awakened within him a sense of mystery, and 
has caused him to become conscious of a barrier to his own con- 
sciousness. To feel that the primal force of the universe is inscru- 
table is to be conscious of our own ignorance, and to be one step 
removed from absolute ignorance, is to know something of God, 
To know something of God, is to have something of God in us. 
The life which perceives its human limitation has already in some 
sense surmounted its limits ; and it can only hav^e surmounted its 
limits by having received into some phase of its being, a portion of 
that illimitable force whose presence has created within a vision of 
the illimitable." 

" For surely there is hope to find, 

Wherever there is power to seek ; 
And we could never think or speak 
Of light, had we from birth been blind." 

But this is very different from the allegations of Agnostics, who 
teach that nothing can be known of God and the future ; that to 
ascribe personality to the Supreme Being is unphilosophical ; that 
the affirmation of theology, regarding the incomprehensible God, is 
unjustifiable ; that there can be no knowledge of supersensual ob- 
jects ; that the mind cannot be perceptive beyond the impressions 
received through the senses, and that we cannot even say whether 
there is a being outside of and controlling this visible world. Regard- 
ing the more important and fundamental doctrines of the Christian 
creed. Agnosticism says they cannot be known, and no one can 
make an honest profession of knowing them ; the mind is inher- 
ently and constitutionally incapable of ascertaining anything regard- 
ing such themes ; the powers bestowed upon the creature by the 


Creator are not trustworthy, and cannot be relied upon ; religion 
and revelation must therefore be rejected as presenting only cre- 
dentials which the human mind is incapable of testing, and therefore 
there can be no real objective knowledge of God and divine things. 
Agnosticism does not say that there is no God, no immortality, no 
future state of rewards and punishments, no heaven and no hell, but 
it says no one can predicate with perfect assurance that such a being 
and such things exist. It is blank infidelity as regards all that con- 
cerns man in his present relations to his Maker and his future con- 
dition in the world to come — death, in the language of the Agnostic, 
is after all a leap in the dark. 

Spurgeon's description of sucn a creed is perhaps as good as 
any that can be found. Speaking of such men he says : " They 
are as a rolling thing before the whirlwind, having no fixed basis, 
no abiding foundation of belief. They set themselves as industri- 
ously to breed doubt as if salvation came by it. Doubt and be 
saved is ^heir Gospel. Such uncertainty suits me not. I must 
know something or I cannot live. I must be sure of something, or 
I have no motive from which to act. God never meant us to live 
in perpetual questioning. His revelation is not, and cannot be 
that shapeless cloud, which certain philosophic divines make it out 
to be. There must be something true, and Christ must have come 
into the world to teach us something saving and reliable. There 
is assuredly some ascertainable, infallible, revealed truth for com- 
mon people, something sure to rest upon. Until the preacher 
knows the Gospel in his own heart as the power of God unto sal- 
vation, let him sit on the penitent form, and ask to be prayed for, 
but never enter a pulpit." How different from the negative, halting, 
uncertain attitude of certain teachers in our day, who speak of the 
Bible as only an uncertain and progressive revelation, are the clear 
ringing words of the late Dr. Candlish, when he says : " I avow it 
as my sole aim, to advocate as best I may, that, not only is the 
word of God in the Bible, but that the Bible is itself in the strictest 


and fullest sense, in every particular of its contents, and in every 
expression which it uses, the infallible word of the only living and 
true God." 

Now in opposition to Ac,mosticism, we hold that God is not 
unknowable. " If there are some who know Him not, it is because 
they have determined before hand that He is unknowable ; if they 
see Him not, it is because they have raised a cloud before their 
eyes ; if they hear Him not, it is because they scorn to hearken. 
It is because they consider Him a problem of Euclid to be dem- 
onstrated, and approach Him with the intellect, and leave the heart 
behind." If unknowable, to all practical purposes, he ceases to 
exist, and as to loving a God of whom we know nothing, and of 
whose very existence we are in doubt, the thing is impossible. We 
believe that God has given us an infallible revelation — we believe 
in the fact of human depravity — we believe in the incarnation, 
death, and the resurrection of Christ — we believe in the testimony 
of Scripture, that atonement is necessary for the remission of sin, 
and believing that those who avail themselves of the salvation 
offered by Christ shall be saved, and those who reject it shall be 
lost, we must come to certain conclusions as to a future existence, 
and cannot if we would, treat such momentous questions with in- 

That men can avow such absolute and abject ignorance ; that 
they should not only be contented with such a negative creed, but 
compass sea and land to make new diciples, is marvellous in an age, 
when the deepest problems of philosophy, are being solved, and 
new evidence discovered, not only of the being of a God, but of a 
far-reaching and unending future, when He shall reveal Himself 
still more clearly to the gaze of perfected humanity. No man, it 
seemr, to me, can be an agnostic with the convictions of conscience 
within him, apart altogether from the teaching of the Bible. The 
old Hebrew patriarchs saw God everywhere, not as an object of 
superstitious devotion, but as the sublime ruler of the universe. Tlie 


globe was not'materialized as it is to-day, and deified. God was 
associated in their minds with everything in external nature, and 
so it should be to-day, with the increased acuteness of mind, that 
characterizes civilized and christian lands. The beauty and grandeur 
and wise adaptations of nature, should call forth the intelligent ador- 
ation of every reflecting mind. " Insects as well as angels, the 
flowers that spangle the meadow, as well as the stars that spangle 
the sky, the lamp of the glow-worm as well as the light of the sun, 
the lark that sings in the air and the saint that is singing in Par- 
adise, the still, small voice of conscience as well as the thunders 
that rend the clouds, or the trump that shall rend the tomb, these 
and all things else reveal God's attributes and proclaim His praise." 

The men who advocate Agnostic principles, are not generally 
examples of humility, but are boastful of their intellectual powers. 
It is not an honest consciousness, and frank acknowledgment of 
the littleness of the creature, compared with the Creator, that makes 
them profess such utter helplessness in arriving at some distinct 
idea, of the nature of that shoreless eternity upon which we are 
soon to enter. It is rather the pride of human reason, that chal- 
lenges the need of a superior being. Vain conceited man would in 
the language of Pope : 

"Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod, 
Rejudge his justice, be the God of God." 

Schiller, whose muse was conscience, well says : 

" God hides himself behind eternal laws, 
Which, and not Hirt the skeptic seeing, exclaims, 
There is no God ; 

And never did a Christian's adoration 
So praise Him as this skeptic's blasphemy." 

Augustine spent many years, m a vain endeavor to grasp the 
doctrine of the Trinity in its full significance. He rushed one day 
with burning brow, to seek the breezes of the seaside. He found 


there a child wno had scooped away the sand, and was pouring 
water into the hole he had made. With boyish glee the youth told 
the grey-haired saint, in answer to his question, that he would dip 
all the waters of the ocean and pour them into the sand. " No, 
no," replied Augustine, "your hollow will not hold the ocean, and 
can I, a creature, comprehend the Creator ?" Theology is indeed, 
as Lyman Beecher says, a mighty deep. It has its calms and 
storms, its joys and dangers. Weak souls, and some strong ones 
also, may be wrecked if they venture too far without taking their 
proper bearings. But this is very different from saying that there 
is nothing certain in the whole circle of Christian doctrine, and that 
we have no fuller knowledge of God than the agnosticism of the 
old Athenian altar. There are certain revealed truths that we are 
as assured of as we are of our own existence. Should we hold our 
peace concerning them, the very stones would cry out against us 
and rebuke our infidelity. 

The story is told us of a young German Countess who lived 
about a hundred years ago — a noted unbeliev-er, and especially op- 
posed to the doctrine of the resurrection. She died when about 
thirty years of age, and before her death gave orders that her grave 
should be covered with a solid slab of granite ; that around it 
should be placed a square block of stone, and that the corners 
should be fastened to each other and to the granite slab by heavy 
iron clamps. Upon the covering this inscription was placed : " This 
burial place, purchased to all eternity, must never be opened." All 
that human power could do to prevent any change in that grave 
was done, but a little seed sprouted, and the tiny shoot found its 
way between the side stone and the upper slab, and grew there 
slowly but steadily, forcing its way until the iron clamps were torn 
asunder and the granite lid was raised, and is now resting upon the 
trunk of the tree, which is large and flourishing. Thus does nature 
silently foreshadow the unfoldings of the future with its resurrection 
to damnation or eternal life. 


Agnosticism it has well been said, can never become the creed 
of the great body of any people ; but should it ever be taught by 
the science and philosophy of the day, its influence on the youths 
who might be led not to amuse themselves with it, but by faith to 
receive it, would be that they would find some of the hindrances to 
vice removed, and perhaps some of the incentives to evil encour- 
aged. Under its blighting influences, humanity would retrograde and 
repeat the barbarism of the dark ages. It fails to satisfy the yearn- 
ings of the soul ; it takes from man, all those consolations that 
sustain in the hour of trial : it affords no help to bear patiently, 
the burdens of the present life : it gives no promise of a future, for 
which this is but a preparation, and sheds no light upon the grave. 
Frederick Harrison the Apostle of Humanitarianism, as against 
Herbert Spencer's Agnosticism (although both systems are essen- 
tially Atheistic) with merciless sarcasm, thus shows the falsity and 
futility of the latter. A child looks up in the wise and meditative 
face of the Agnostic philosopher and says : Oh ! wise and great 
master, what is religion ? He tells that child, it is the presence of 
the unknowable. But what asks the child am I to believe about 
it? Believe THAT you can never know anything about 
IT ! And a mother wrung with agony for the loss of her child, or 
the wife crushed by the death of her children's father, or the help- 
less and the oppressed, the poor and the needy, men, women and 
children, in sorrow, doubt, and want, longing for something to com- 
fort them and to guide them, something to believe in, to hope for, 
to love and to worship — they come to the philosopher and they 
say. Your men of science have routed our priests and have silenced 
our old teachers. What religious faith do you give us in its place? 
And the philosopher replies (his full heart bleeding for them) 
" Think on the Unknowable !" 

If such a theory can never be accepted by the masses, much 
less can it ever become the creed of a sound philosophy. The 
remark that a really great man cannot be a Materialist is founded 


on reason. He is conscious of something within him superior to 
the subtlest forms and forces of matter. Neither can he be an 
Agnostic, for he finds the image of God's attributes and the echo 
of God's voice in his soul. This consciousness of immortality which 
is inseparable from true genius, is beautifully expressed by the late 
Victor Hugo when he says : 

"There are no occult forces, there are only luminous forces. 
Occult force is chaos, the luminous force is God. Man is an infi- 
nitely little copy of God ; this is glory enough for man. I am a 
man, an invisible atom, a drop in the ocean, a grain of sand on the 
shore. Little as I am, I feel the God in me, because I can also 
bring form out of my chaos. I make books which are creations. I 
feel in myself the future life. I am like a forest which has been 
more than once cut down — the new shoots are stronger and livelier 
than ever. I am rising, T know, toward the sky. The sunshine is 
on my head. The earth gives me its generous sap, but heaven 
lights me with the reflection of unknown worlds. You say the soul 
is nothing bu*- the resultant of bodily powers. Why, then, is my 
soul the more 'uminous when my bodily powers begin to fail ? 
Winter is on my head, and eternal spring is in my heart. There I 
breathe at this hour the fragrance of the lilies, the violets, and the 
roses, as at twenty years ago. The nearer I approach the end, the 
plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds 
which invite me. It is marvellous, yet simple. It is a fairy tale, 
and it is history. For half a century I have been writing my 
thoughts in prose and verse — history, philosophy, drama, romance, 
tradition, sat'«-e, ode. ard song — I have tried all. But I feel I have 
not said the thousandth part of what is in me. When I go down 
to the grave I can say, like so many others, " I have finished my 
day's work," but I cannot say " I have finished my life." My day's 
work will begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind 
alley ; it is a thoroughfare. It closes on the twilight to open with 
the dawn." 


To ask men to give up the stable truths of Revelation for such 
a baseless system, is presumptuous folly : to ask them to worship 
an unknown and unknowable divinity, instead of a living, personal, 
almighty and all-wise God, is an insult to man's judgment. And 
yet this is what Agnosticism vainly seeks after. On the principle 
that ignorance is the mother of devotion, Agnostics put forth high 
claims for their theory, because of the reverence and awe which 
this unknown essence is fitted to inspire. " But there can be no 
true reverence or affection cherished towards anything that is un- 
known. The mind does not experience the emotion of the beauti- 
ful, or the grand, or the sublime, when the objects necessary to 
awaken it are absent, or kept in abeyance. The same is true of the 
moral emotions. They can have no existence, where there have 
not been presented to the moral agent the materials for a moral 
judgment. We experience the emotion of awe toward nothing 
which does not impress us by the manifestations of awe-inspiring 
attributes. And when these emotions of awe and reverence rise 
into the sublime rapture of genuine adoration, their elevation is due 
not to cessation of thought, but to the apprehended glory of Him, 
before whose presence the seraphims veil their vision with their 
wings. Agnosticism, despite its pretensions, must be adjudged 
unphilosophic, unscientific, and irreligious." 




F MAN is naturally ungodly and ungrateful, he is not 
■^M naturally an atheist. Mankind are disposed to believe 
f^]i in a being, or at least a power, above this world, regu- 

lating it, and making it bestow those gifts which we 

P are constantly receiving. I am not inclined to maintain 
that this belief is gendered by some separate instinct, or God 
consciousness, as the German theologian, Schleiermacher, calls it. 
It is the product simply of the ordinary operating powers of the 
mind, as men observe the world above and around them, and the 
still more wonderful world within. We have as clear proof of the 
being of God as we have of the existence of our fellow creatures. 
I am conscious of my own soul ; and it is a very easy and a very 
logical argument which leads me to be sure that my fellow men 
also have souls. I discover intelligent acts, and I conclude that 
there must be intelligent actors. On the same principle, on discov- 
ering the adaptation of one thing to another, and the wonderful 
provision made for the protection and preservation of sentient crea- 
tures, I argue a designing mind. In the exercise of my intelligence 
I discover intelligence, and benevolence as well, everywhere around 
me. I must absolutely abnegate my own intelligence if I am not 
allowed to perceive intelligence in that plant, in that animal, in 
these goodly frames of ours, and in the bounties daily received by 
us. There thus comes a voice from without us, re-echoed in the 
depths of our own hearts, proclaiming a power to be revered and 


As observing these things, as feeling in this way, there is an 
impulse prompting every man to acknowledge this superior power 
or being, and in a sense to worship it — -the worship all the while, in 
consequence of the weakness and ungodliness of our nature, being 
so far an ignorant one. When special favors are bestowed, man's 
natural propensity is to give thanks — it may be, to an unknown 
God. When, on the other hand, sudden calamity comes, he is 
tempted to rebel against the power which has prostrated him, but 
quite as frequently the prayer will burst from him, " O God help 
me!" When man is in perplexity, and knows not whither to turn, 
he feels relief in appealing to One. who from a greater height, sees 
farther fhan he himself does. When we have wandered, we look 
anxiously round for some one to show us the right path. When 
we are sinking in the waves, we cry for a hand to lift us up. These 
spontaneous impulses and acts of the heart are the homage which 
mankind unconsciously pay to God and to religion. 

The leading philosophic and religious error of this day is not 
Unitarianism, which, in fact, is dead and laid out for decent burial. 
It is not Rationalism, for thinking men now see that human reason 
cannot construct a religion. It is not exactly Atheism. Few are 
so bold as to assert or argue that there is no God. They claim : 
" We do not deny the existence of God, we are not so presumptous 
as this ; we make no denials, we simply maintain that we have 
no evidence." The most influential error of the day, the one 
underlying every other, is what is called " Agnosticism." The 
founder of it in modern times is David Hume, usually called the 
Skeptic ; he would be called in the present day an Agnostic. 
According to this system we do not know things, we simply know 
appearances ; and we know not and cannot know whether there is 
any reality beyond, or, if there be, what the reality is. Its sup- 
porters virtually affirm that truth cannot be found. When thor- 
oughly and conscientiously carried out, it means that we cannot 
know anything. More frequently it means that we cannot discover 


any truth beyond what the senses reveal, that we can have no cer- 
tainty of spiritual truth, or indeed of moral truth, except as utility, 
or the power of imparting pleasure. 

This want of creed, or rather sentiment, is lowering the moral 
tone and religious faith of educated young men. It is bred in the 
damps of the earth ; it rises up and is in the air ; it covers the 
heavens from the view, and we breathe it as malaria. It is easy to 
show that it is suicidal. It is contradictory to maintain that we 
know, that we can know nothing. But when we have done this, 
we have not destroyed the error any more than we have killed a 
specter by thrusting a sword into it. For the strength of its de- 
fense, is, that supposed truth is contradictory, and therefore not to 
be believed. The only way to meet it is to stand firm, and to point 
to truth which we know as being self evident, and which we are 
constrained to believe. 

What we have to do with those who favor the system is to set 
the truth before them and let it shine in its own light. We know 
that we exist, we know that others exist. Proceeding on in the 
same way, we find that God exists, that we are capable of knowing 
the distinction between right and wrong, and that we are responsi- 
ble to God for the deeds done in the body, whether they have been 
good, or whether they have been evil. We have as strong evidence 
of the higher and spiritual truths as we have of the lower. I have 
evidence that I exist, but I have also proof that God exists, the 
Author of my being. These men would accept the lower truths, 
what can be seen and felt in pleasure and in pain, in what they eat, 
and what they drink, in meat and in money, and some are anxious 
to secure as many earthly goods as possible. Their Agnosticism^ 
practically, and in fact, consists simply in their affirming and trying 
to persuade others, especially young men, that we know nothing of 
the higher truths, of moral and spiritual truth, of God, of immor- 
tality, and a judgment day. This is the deadly influence of the 
system. It is seeking to kill the germs of spiritual life, which are 


deep down in our nature, so as to keep them from germinating. It is 
undermining the faith of the rising generation, and holding back 
all the aspirations of the soul, which lead to high ideals, and to 
deeds of heroism and self-sacrifice. It is filling the air with doubts, 
difficulties, uncertainties, and perplexities. 

It can be shown that we have good and valid proofs of these 
higher truths of morality and religion, even as we have of the lower 
ones of sense and sight. If we neglect either kind of truth, evil 
consequences must follow. If we do not eat and drink, we must 
die. If we refuse to believe in ethical and spiritual truth, we offend 
God and must suffer the penalties of a broken law, and live without 
the grand belief and hopes that elevate and cheer the mind. God 
is declared in His works. " The heavens declare the glory of God," 
the whole earth is full of His praise. It is the declared doctrine of 
Paul, and, I may add, of the highest philosophy which ever carries 
us up to this high region. " The in^visible things of God are clearly 
seen, being understood from the things that are made, even His 
eternal power and Godhead." — Rev. jAMES McCoSH, D. D., Presi- 
dent, Princeton College, N. J. 


BY Tirn: 


HE late Sir William Hamilton, in his discussions on 
mental philosophy, wrote : " The last and highest con- 
secration of all true religion must be an altar Ag- 
NOSTO TllEO, to the unknown and unknowable God." 
Agnostic is a word anglicised during the latter half of this 
nineteenth century. Worcester's large dictionary of 1864 
does not contain it. It has fallen to the lot of this present genera- 
tion, to erect in the midst of our Christian civilization and thought, 
the Athenian altar anew, to worship the unknown and the un- 

There has been much conjecture as to the occasion of such an 
altar being erected as Paul found in Athens. There is a story of 
a pestilence being stayed by Epimenides taking white and black 
sheep to the Areopagus, letting them go, and commanding those 
who followed to sacrifice them when they stopped, to the god to whom 
these things pertained. Thus, it is said, the custom began of dedi- 
cating altars to Gods unknown. 

To us the suggestion has greater probability, that the Athenian 
altar was an outcome of schools of philosophy, which, very much 
after that Sir Wm. Hamilton followed, taught the hopelessness of 


man scclving to know the Infinite. We know such teachings pre- 
vailed, the cry of ''moo^nnce. the evasion of responsibility. Among 
the rich ♦-reasu'-es or the past in the Vatican at Rome, is an altar 
tablet dug up at Ostia, on which is inscribed " Signum indeprehensi- 
bilis dei " — The sign of the incomprehensible God. At Sais, a 
sacred city of Lower Egypt, over the veil of the presiding deity 
Isis, there is said to have been the inscription : " I am all that has been, 
and all that is, and all that shall be, and no mortal hath lifted mj- 
veil." It will be seen therefore that the " Unknown " and the 
" Unknowable " God, is not a mere conception of modern thought, — 
that humility of oliilosophy which would thus belittle man's powers, 
the old world had. There is little new in human thought, there- 
fore, we propose no novelty in meeting the Agnostic position, that 
God cannot be known. Nor shall I attempt a philosophical trea- 
tise, only in so far as metaphysics meet us in its more popular 
form, wilJ any effort be made to make manifest its subtleties. 

Any conception we may have of God must be of an infinite 
being, at least thus have we been taught ; but says Agnosticism, 
the finite cannot know the infinite, therefore God cannot with cer- 
tainty be known. Speaking in general terms, there exists a belief, 
primitive or evolved it matters not, in infinity. Is this belief a 
mere negation ? a conviction simply of ignorance ? That we can 
form no picture of the infinite is confessed, that it surpasses know- 
ledge is true ; but did Paul write nonsense when he wrote of "know- 
ing that which passeth knowledge?" Eph. iii. 19. We can form 
no image of boundless space or of endless existence, and yet if on 
morning wings we fly to the outmost bound of visible creation, we 
are irresistibly carried on in thought to the beyond, and death com- 
pels the conviction of an " after death." The conceptions may 
not be grasped in their vastness, but they are real conceptions, and 
matters of irresistible conviction. What being is we may not be 
able to divine ; that It Is, we are constrained to confess, let reason 
do its worst or its best. Our knowledge may be bounded within 


the bounds we know ; but the consciousness of a bound is not 
merely negative, it carries with it the irresistible conviction of a 
beyond. When then the Agnostic speaks to me of God as "the 
Eternal Why, to which no man has replied ; the Infinite Enigma, 
which no Sphinx has solved," 1 can only say the Why exists, the 
Enigma remains ; and my entire spiritual nature rebels against the 
negative creed : from its impotence, and from the compelled ambi- 
guity of terms, I turn, and I say, the Why must be answered, the 
Enigma must be read. 

What do men mean when they say they know ? Plainly we do 
not know the fragrance of spring flowers as we know the hardness 
of stone ; the latter gives a sense of resistance to our touch, the 
other brings simply a pleasurable sensation ; in popular speech, we 
have a knowledge of both. What do we know of the social rela- 
tions of life ? Can a child prove his relationshship to father, 
brother, or relatives ? And }^et society rests securely on this know- 
ledge of faith. The child accepts the relationship first as a simple 
matter of surroundings, then, experience confirming, the faith of 
childhood grows into the assurance of manhood ; and this article of 
faith possesses more practical strength than many beliefs logically 
demonstrated. I readily admit it to be an easy matter to raise 
doubts about this or anything, but I suspect we should listen some- 
what impatiently to a demand that every man should prove his 
parentage, upon the same principle that would satisfy an engineer 
that a bridge was safe. The piano tuner does not adjust the strings 
by the same faculty a mason employs in building his wall perpen- 
dicular ; aud a man may know perfectly that a line of posts is 
straight, yet be utterly unable to discern the shade of a picture. To 
ask that we should know God, who is spirit, as we know even an 
electric shock, would therefore seem to be an absurdity. Before 
we accept Agnostic helplessness as our Ultima Thule, we may 
justly enquire whether there may not be an overlooked faculty, by 
means of which we may discern a God. 


An old and skeptical surgeon is reported to have said, that he 
had dissected many bodies and cut into many a living frame with- 
out finding any trace of a soul. I have examined many vegetable 
cells under the microscope, without finding any trace of that life 
which causes to bud and bloom. I never expect to see life by 
means of a lens. Is life the less a reality, because neither surgeon's 
knife or optician's glass discern it ? Nor can science lay bare the 
living God to the heart of man. We must search for God in that 
region where his presence is to be found, and not speak of an 
unknowable, because a God-discerning faculty has been neglected 
or overlooked, or because other senses have failed to see. When 
Paul wrote, "the world through its wisdom knew not God,"(i Cor. 
i. 2i), he wrote not merely a fact in history, but also one of the most 
profound of philosophic truths. God is not to be discovered by the 
teaching of the schools, nor to be worked out as a problem in 
mathematics. That does not, however, declare him to be either 
unknown or unknowable. Paul's declaration still stands that the 
truth of God may be known : " because that which may be known 
of God is manifested in them. For the invisible things of Him 
since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived 
through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and 
divinity." Rom. i. 19-20. 

The Christ taught : " The pure in heart shall see God." Matt 
V. 8. If this be true — it is at least reasonable — we need not rise on 
fancy's wing, or search through infinite space, nor walk along lines 
of intricate reasoning. God is known to the humble heart, revealed 
to the contrite spirit, the pure in heart — they see Him. Let but 
the eyes of such an heart be opened, and like the servant of Elisha 
of old, we shall find ourselves environed by His glory. "There are 
sanctities of life and of duty, of home and affection, of sympath)' 
and of helpfulness, of penitence and of prayer, which daily speak 
of him to those who will lend an ear.- Let these be neglected or 
profaned, and we do not wonder if earth loses its consecration, and 


speaks no more of God. Let them be reverenced, and wherever m 
the history of mankind, or among our fellows, we observe lives 
moved by high aspiration, cherishing loyalty to duty, and that rev- 
erence for goodness and truth, which speaks of the great destiny to 
be revealed, we must also acknowledge the revelation of the Most 
High." This is the truth of Isaiah Ivii. 17. The evil heart is the 
hiding from us, of the light of God's countenance. No man need 
expect a revelation of God, as he follows after covetousness. Surely 
the sordid spirit is not the sense by which to perceive the God of 
mercy, nor the ways of sin the means to discern the Lord of right- 
eousness and truth. The old prophets taught true philosophy in 
such verses as Isaiah Ixvi. 1-2. 

Here the rejoinder is ready, that this is simply the heart mak- 
ing its own God. Let us examine this a moment. Is the multi- 
plication table a fiction because man has formulated it, and the 
mind needs culture to comprehend it ? Is the difference between 
notes unreal, because the practised ear alone can nicely adjust 
them ? Men do not take a stunted flower or a deformed animal to 
describe a class or a species. Why take the distorted life, or the 
faculties of the lower plane to discern and to verify the true relation 
sustained to the infinite ? It is not to an imperfect telescope the 
astronomer looks for his discoveries, nor to the ill constructed 
model, the mechanic, whereby his invention may be tested. True. 
discoveries have been made with the aid of poor instruments, and 
mechanisms tested by inferior models. So the poor Indian with 
untutored mind, may see God in clouds, and hear Him in the wind. 
Nevertheless we desire keener spiritual sight, whereby to discern 
the King in His beauty, and the land that is afar off 

It is a great thing to be a conscientious man. We must respect, 
even with fear, a man who orders himself by the sense of duty. 
What is duty if it be not a sense of relationship to a moral power, 
not ourselves ? And what moral power can there be without per- 
sonality ? Evolution would account for conscience and for its moral 


cicstinctions, by the accumulated experience of the race finding 
certain lines of action to be in the main such as give pleasure. Yet 
herein is the marvel. There IS a special course of action which 
ultimately prevails, which is exactly the position of the writer of 
Ecclesiastes : " Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and pro- 
long his days, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them 
that fear God." Ecclesiastes viii. 12-13. Only the Bible makes the 
Evolutionists course of nature the way of God, which at least has 
the virtue of simplicity. 

How are we to get gold from a vault if it has not been put 
there? An empty pocket is helpless in the world's exchange. How 
is evolution to take place where involution has not been ? Whence 
came the possibility of that evolved sense of responsibility? My 
conscience brings me into the very presence of a Being who 
searches the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men. I 
cannot evade the conviction ; and when the gospel proclaims the 
way of access to God to be by faith, and faith to be gained by 
obedience : " If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doc- 
trine," I cannot say God is unknowable until I have endeavored 
in that way. He that is of the truth heareth my voice, saith the 
Christ, to understand which, even though we cannot at first em- 
brace, we must be at least willing to " enter in." 

Leaving out of question the character of the Bible as a direct 
revelation from God, it is at least a wonderful record of human 
experience, and it speaks of a knowledge some at least have gained. 
" Beloved, let us love one another : for love is of God, and every 
one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God, for God is 
love." The record of the life that found not God in THIS way of 
seeking, has yet to be written, has yet to be found. 

Reader, your life, what is it ? A sacrifice upon an altar to an 
unknown God ? or a consecrated service to the God of love ? The 
spirit of the age may say, " where is thy God ?" Nevertheless God 
has written His witness on ever)' heart that waiteth for Him ; and 


the man who enters teachably the school of Christ, will learn with 

an assurance not to be gainsaid, " He that hath seen the Christ hath 

seen the Father." 

Agnosticism is Pessimism. We do not need it. Christianity 

sings ; 

"O hearts of love ! O souls that turn, 
Like sunflowers, to the pure and best ! 
To you the truth is manifest, 
For they the mind of God discern 
Who lean, like John, on Jesus' breast.' 


"And is there in God's world so drear a place 
Where the loud bitter cry is raised in vain ? 
Where tears of penance come too late for grace, 
As on th' uprooted flower the genial rain ? 

"Tis even so : the sovereign Lord of souls, 

Stores in the dungeon of his boundless realm, 
Each bolt, that o'er the sinner vainly rolls, 
With gather'd wrath the reprobate to whelm." 

"These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the 
righteous into life eternal," " If any man shall add unto these 
things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this 
book : And if any man take away from the words of the book of 
this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life 
and out of the holy city." 


HE word Universalism is used in two senses : as the 
. J;^ common appellation of a whole system of faith, and as 
IMdIA the name of a single distinctive doctrine. Universal- 
ists profess to believe and teach the authenticity, gen- 
uineness and inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, in the same 
manner as they are held by Christians generally. They 
believe that the Old and New Testaments contain the revealed will 
of God ; and, with all Protestants, they maintain that the Bible is 
the only and sufficient rule of faith and practise. They believe and 
teach the existence of the one living and true God, the Creator, 
Preserver, and Governor of all worlds, beings, and things. They 
believe that God is self-existent, independent and eternal : omnis- 
cient and omnipotent : infinite in wisdom, goodness and power : 
in justice, mercy and truth. They believe that to manifest his 
love for the human race, God sent his son Jesus Christ into the 
world, to reveal more perfectly the divine character and purposes, 
and finally, through death and the resurrection, to bring life and 
immortality to light. They believe in the Holy Spirit, whose fruits 
in the believing soul are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, &c. ; in the 
necessity of repentance, and reformation of heart and life : in the 
new birth, or change of heart, effected in the soul by a cordial belief 
of gospel truth, and accompanied by the sanctifying influences of 
the Holy Spirit : in the importance of good works, not to purchase 

salvation or gain the love of God — for salvation is of free grace 


alone — but as the natural fruits of the .i^ospcl cordially received, the 
evidences of indwelling- grace, and because they are good and 
profitable to men. 

They believe in the universal resurrection of the dead : in a life 
and immortalit}- for the human race beyond the grave, where the 
mortal shall put on immortality, and where men can die no more, 
but shall be as the angels, and be children of God. 

They reject the doctrine of vicarious atonement, and assert the 
fundamental truth that every transgressor must suffer the punish- 
ment of his own sins, either here or hereafter. 

They teach the forgiveness or removal of sin, but not of pun- 

They deny the doctrine of total depravity and original sin, and 
assert the natural goodness of the human heart. 

They teach that salvation is not deliv^erance from the torment'^ 
of an endless hell, but from the bondage of sin ; that it is inward 
and spiritual, and not from any outward evil. 

They teach the necessity of repentance and regeneration as the 
equivalent of salvation ; that there can be no salvation without 
these, since without them there can be no abandonment of sin. 

They teach that all punishment, whether here or hereafter, is 
corrective, and must, therefore, come to an end. 

And finally, that through the agencies of His infinite wisdom 
and love, God will reconcile and restore all souls to himself. 

Briefly stated the Universalist creed is as follows : " That there 
is one God, whose nature is love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ 
by one holy spirit of grace, who will finally restore the whole family 
of mankind to holiness and happiness." Or, quoting the language 
of a prominent minister of the denomination, who has written 
largely in defence of the doctrine, it may be expressed in the fol- 
lowing terms : " All nations who ever have, do now, or will here- 
after exist on earth, all whom God has made, or ever will make in 
our world, shall in due time be brought into a condition of mind 


and heart to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. It is God's 
will, His purpose, His determination that all men shall be saved 
and come to the knowledge of the truth." 

It ought in fairness to be added, that Universalists are not fully 
agreed upon all points of doctrine. They differ in their views 
regarding the freedom of the will, some adopting the theory of 
Edwards, and others that of his opponents, and also as to the place 
and duration of punishment, some believing in limited punishment 
in the future state, and others not. In these points, however, they 
are all agreed : 1st. That a being of infinite wisdom, power and 
benevolence, never would bring into existence creatures to be etern- 
ally miserable. 2nd. That the eternal existence of sin is incompa- 
tible with the holiness of God. 3rd. That the sins of finite creatures 
never can merit eternal punishment. 4th. That inasmuch as every 
benevolent man desires the salvation of the race, it is not to be 
supposed that God is less benevolent than His creatures. 

The orthodox or evangelical view of future punishment as 
opposed to Universalism is as already stated : Future punishment 
is everlasting. At death the state is fixed for eternity. No man 
who dies impenitent will after death change his character and obtain 
pardon. Sin is self propagating. Where sin continues punishment 
will continue. Reform in another state of existence is not suppos- 
able. Men who persevere in sin from the beginning to the end of 
life will persevere in sin forever, and such as refuse forgiveness here 
will never obtain it hereafter. It is appointed unto men once to 
die, and afterwards there comes — not probation — not the offer of 
mercy, but the judgment. 

Thus far we have seen that the doctrine of eternal punishment 
is attacked on all sides. Some teach that there is no future exist- 
ence after death ; others that there is no hell ; others again, that it 
matters little, whether they suffer or not. Universalists, who form- 
erly denied all future punishment, on the grounds that it would be 


evidence of the cruelty of God, now believe in a punishment that 
comes to an end. It is not now taught that nobody goes in, but that 
everbody gets out. That has an end, of which they said formerl}-, 
it had no beginning. Hell is now said to be on the way to heaven 
a sort of training school, — as against the old doctrine, that it was 
the final portion of such as refused heaven. This much however 
is certain, that belief in some kind of future punishment is increas- 
ing, although, the almost universal belief as to its nature and dura- 
tion, may be changing. Indeed, save in the case of materialists, 
who deny the immortality of the soul, the fact of future punishment 
is conceded. We need not then perplex ourselves so much about 
its nature, if we believe that the sinner shall assuredly suffer the 
full penalty of his sin. Is it possible for sin to exhaust power in a 
being who dies impenitent? Is there anything in God's word, or 
in the divine character, that gives reasonable hope of future restor- 
ation to the favor and friendship of God ? This, more than the 
nature of future retribution, is the all important question we have 
to solve — and that not so much by the teachings of nature, and the 
conflicting opinions of reason, as by the testimony of God's word. 
Every one knows, however, that Universalists have not confined 
themselves to this simple question, but have endeavored to bias 
simple minds by asserting that the generally accepted creed of the 
Christian Church declares punishment to be not only endless, but 
consisting of physical torture. The writings of Jonathan Edwards 
have been largely quoted in support of this view. And in such 
sermons as "Sinners in the hands of an angry God," if we make no 
allowance for the age in which he lived, the mode of preaching then 
adopted, and the fervent spirit of the man himself, it is possible to 
give the color of truth to such a belief But even had Jonathan 
Edwards taught explicitly, the bodily torment of the impenitent 
wicked, it would after all be simply the opinion of one man, and 
not the sentiment of the Christian world. Not only so, but his lan- 
guage, which has been greatly exaggerated and misconstrued, to 


serve a purpose, may with very little abatement, be used in every 
evangelical pulpit at the present day. His opinions on the subject, 
in a somewhat condensed form, are as follows : "There is nothing 
that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the 
mere pleasure of God. There is no want of power in God to cast 
wicked men into hell at any moment. Men's hands cannot be 
strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist 
him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. It is not, therefore, 
because God is unmindful of their wickedness that he does not resent 
it — that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off. God is 
not altogether such an one as themselves, though they may imagine 
Him to be so. The wrath of God burns against them, their damna- 
tion does not slumber ; the pit is prepared ; the fire is made ready ; 
the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them ; the flames do now 
rage and glow. The glittering sword is whetted and held over 
them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under them. They de- 
serve to be cast into hell ; justice never stands in the way, it makes 
no objection against God's using his power at any moment to des- 
troy them. Yea, on the contrary, justice calls aloud for an infinite 
punishment of their sins. They are already under a sentence of 
condemnation to hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast 
down thither, but the sentence of the law of God is gone out against 
them, and stands against them, so that they are bound over already 
to hell. The bow of God's wrath is bent and the arrow made ready 
on the string, and justice directs the arrow to your heart and strains 
the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that 
of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that 
keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your 
blood. He will crush you under his feet without mercy, and your 
blood shall be sprinkled on his garments, so as to stain all his 
raiment." See, says the Universalist, after reading such sentences, 
what a revolting image — God treating the sinner like the insect, 
swollen with loathsome and venomous juices, which in a moment 


of hate a man crushes under his foot ? Now \vc submit, such criti- 
cism is unfair. It makes no allowance for the rhetoric and verbal 
drapery, which impassioned and godly preachers were wont to use 
in addressing large masses of unconverted men, on whom persuasion 
and tender words had no effect ; it imputes to them a doctrine which 
they did not in many cases hold, and having put a false construc- 
tion upon their language, it makes it the creed of the Christian 

Other Theologians eminent for their scholarship, have used 
strong language in depicting the state of woe. Dr Pusey says : 
" Gather in your mind an assembly of all those men and women, 
from whom, whether in history or fiction your memory shrinks, (no 
fiction can reach the reality of sin) gather in mind all which is most 
loathsome, most revolting, the most treacherous, malicious, coarse, 
brutal, invective, fiendish cruelty, unsoftened by any remains of 
human feeling, such as thou couldest not endure for a single hour : 
conceive the fierce fiery eyes of hate, spite, frenzied rage, ever fixed 
on thee, looking through and through with hate, sleepless in their 
horrible gaze : felt, if not seen : never turning from thee, never to 
be turned from, except to quail under the piercing sight of hate. 
Hear those yells of blasphemy and concentrated hate, as they echo 
along the lurid vaults of hell ; every one hating every one, and 
venting that hate unceasingly, with every inconceivable expression 
of malignity : conceive all this, multiplied, intensified, reflected on 
all around on every side : and amid it, the special hatred of any 
one whose sins thou sharest, whom thou did'st thoughtlessly en- 
courage in sin, or teach some sin unknown before, — a dcathlessness 
of hate were in itself everlasting misery. A fixedness in that state 
in which the hardened, malignant sinner lies, involves without any 
future retribution from God, endless misery." Archer Butler says : 
"The punishments of hell are but the perpetual vengeance that 
accompanies the sins of hell. An eternity of wickedness brings 
with it an eternity of woe. The sinner is to suffer for everlasting : 


but it is because the sin itself is as everlasting as the suffering.'' 
Professor Mansel says : " In that mysterious condition of the de- 
praved will, compelled and yet free : the slave of sinful habit, yet 
responsible for every act of sin, and gathering deeper condemnation 
as the power of amendment grows less and less ; may we not see 
some possible foreshadowing of the yet deeper guilt and the yet 
more hopeless misery of the worm that dieth not, and the fire that 
is not quenched." Spurgeon in one of his leading sermons says : 
" Only conceive the poor wretch in flames. See how his tongue 
hangs from between his blistered lips 1 How it excoriates and 
burns the roof of his mouth, as if it were a firebrand ! Behold him 
crying for a drop of water. I will not picture the scene, suffice it 
for me to say that the hell of hells will be to thee, poor sinner, the 
thought that it is to be FOREVER. Thou wilt look up there on the 
throne of God — and on it shall be written FOREVER ; when the 
damned jingle the burning irons of their torments they shall say 

" ' Forever ' is written on then- racks, 
' Forever' on their chains: 
' Forever ' burneth in the fire, 
' Forever ' ever reigns." 

We are sometimes accused of using language too harsh, too 
ghastly, too alarming, with regard to the world to come. But if 
we could speak thunderbolts, and our every look were a lightning 
flash, and our eyes dropped blood, instead of tears, no tones, words 
or gestures or similitudes of dread could exaggerate the awful con- 
dition of a soul, which has refused the Gospel, and is delivered over 
to justice. When thou diest, O sinner, thy soul will be tormented 
alone: that will be a hell for it : but at the day of judgment thy 
body will join thy soul, and then thou shalt have twin hells, thy 
soul sweating drops of blood, and thy body suffused with agony. 
In fire exactly like that which we have on earth, thy body will lie, 


asbestos-like, forever unconsumcd, all thy veins, roads for the feet 
of pain to travel on, every nerve a string on which the devil shall 
play his diabolical tune of hell's unutterable lament." ! Such lan- 
guaq^e Universalists well know, is but seldom heard in evangelical 
pulpits at the present day. Speaking on this point, Dr. Charles 
Hodge, who is generally regarded as representing the most rigidly 
orthodox school of theology at the present day, says on this point, 
" There seems to be no more reason for supposing that the fire 
spoken of in Scripture is to be literal fire than that the worm that 
never dies is literally a worm. The devil and his angels who are 
to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, and whose doom the finally 
impenitent are to share, have no material bodies to be acted upon 
by elemental fire. As there are to be degrees in the glory and 
blessedness of heaven, so there will be differences as to degree in 
the sufferings of the lost; some will be beaten with few stripes, 
some with many." 

To the same purport also Professor Phelps of Andover Semin- 
ary says : " The use so often made of the Biblical symbol of FIRE, 
to make the retributive idea odious and hideous, seems to me un- 
worthy of manly and cultured controversy. We must expect it 
from ignorant and passionate thinkers ; but as argument it is very 
shallow. You and I know that that symbol is not a dogmatic form 
of truth. In common speech we use the same and similar ideas. 
We speak of "burning passages," of "fiery lusts," of "flaming 
anger." We tell of a man who frothed at the mouth or ground his 
teeth in impotent rage. Our Saviour takes similar liberties with 
figurative and dramatic speech. Suppose, now, that some one 
should report us as affirming that we saw a man roasting over a 
slow fire in his lusts, or showing signs of hydrophobia in his wrath. 
Would that be ARGUMENT? He might raise a ripple of inane 
laughter at his own conceit ; but would he discredit our story ? 

" So I take all attempts of men to render odious the doctrine of 
endless punisliincnt, by putting the symbol of fire to a use for which 


it was never employed by Him who originated it. In His lips it 
meant the most solemn and appalling reality in the history of the 
universe, so far as it is known to us — that guilt at its climax of 
fixed and finished character involves in its own nature a spiritual 
misery which literal speech cannot portray, and of which no other 
material emblem can give us so truthful an impression as that of a 
surging sea of flame. This, if it BE a reality, of which some who 
walk our streets and give us daily greeting may be in peril, is too 
terrible a reality to be set in the frame of burlesque." 

In replying to the question, Is the future punishment of the 
wicked material or mental. Dr. Bartlett, of Dartmouth College, 
U. S., says : 

" From the necessity of the case, the sufferings of the lost and 
the blessedness of the saved are set forth by material imagery, the 
one quite as much as the other. But as heaven is no literal wed- 
ding, feasting with Abraham, reclining on his bosom, wearing of 
palm branches and crowns, and playing on harps, so we do not un- 
derstand the sensuous imagery concerning the condition of the lost 
in a literal sense, but as accumulated pictures of horror. We are 
also warned off from a literal interpretation by the variety and 
incompatibility of the images, sometimes even in the same sentence : 
the worm and the fire ; cutting asunder,and yet receiving a 'portion ;' 
outer darkness, and the like. These images have often been too 
literally pressed, Metaphors and symbols, however, represent a 
REALITY and are images of dread and dreadful reality. When we 
inquire for the exact mode of suffering, it is left much in the same 
manner as the enjoyments of heaven, certain but undescribed. One 
reason probably is, that in our present state it could not be fully 
made known to us ; another, that no directly practical object, such 
as the Scriptures always seek, would be accomplished by it. Still, 
we naturally suppose that to a being pre-eminently spiritual, the 
prime suffering will be that of the spirit. The intensity of such 
sufferine in this life has tasked the novelist and dramatist to des- 


cribe. Knowing, as \vc do, something of the agonies of env}', hatred, 
bafflled malignity, remorse, and even of perpetual disappointment 
here, we should be dull indeed not to recognize their probable power 
and stringency there." 

Is our imagination, says a recent writer, so poor and barren, 
that we can conceive of no adequate and ample form of punish- 
ment, without having recourse to the figures of the worm that dieth 
not, and the fire that is not quenched ? A future world in itself 
must bring with it dreadful retribution to the wicked. In the mere 
fact of their cleared perceptions, in the realization of their low posi- 
tion, in seeing themselves as they really are, in beholding all those 
they loved and venerated far before them, — away from them, fading 
in the bright distance, may be a torture, a purifying fire, in compar- 
ison with which the representations of Dante and Milton shrivel 
into tameness and inadequacy. 

Because a certain sect holds the doctrine of a purgatory for 
children, it surely is grossly unjust to argue, as Universalists do, 
"that a large section of the Christian Church still believe in the 
damnation of infants who die unbaptized !" In a book lately pub- 
lished by a prominent clergyman of the broad church school, the 
following extract is given from a Roman Catholic book published 
in England by the Rev. J. Furniss, in which he describes the pur- 
gatorial fires prepared for infants : " The fourth dungeon is ' the 
boiling kettle.' Listen, there is a sound like that of a kettle boil- 
ing. Is it really a kettle which is boiling? No. Then what is it ? 
Hear what it is. The blood is boiling in the scalded veins of that 
boy, the brain is boiling and bubbling in his head, the marrow is 
boiling in his bones. The fifth dungeon is ' the red hot oven,' in 
which is a little child. Hear how it screams to come out ; see how 
it turns and twists itself about in the fire ; it beats its head against 
the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor of the 
oven. To this child God was very good. Very likcl}' God saw 


that this ch]]d would g^t worse and worse and would never repent, 
and so would have to be punished much more in hell. So God in 
His mercy cabled it out of the world in its early childhood." Now 
this may be the writer's belief, and that of the Church to which he 
belongs, but the Churches of Christendom, as a whole, cannot be 
committed to such a doctrine. Such a style of argument is revolt- 
ing to every candid mind, and surely ought never to be used b\- 
men who boast so much of their reason, in judging of Scripture. It 
is not the literal language used by Christ, in speaking of future 
punishment, that constitutes the essential idea of the Christian faith, 
but the fact of a final separation between the good and the bad. 
Sin in this life brings its just recompense in the next. The punish- 
ment continues as long as the sin continues, which for all that now 
appears, is for ever. If our Saviour and his apostles did not teach 
this doctrine — which indeed underlies and pervades the whole of 
their ethical utterances — nothing can be learned of the matter in 
dispute. The New Testament then becomes practically useless, so 
far as giving us any reliable information regarding a future state. 
And certainly if Christ taught the doctrine of universal restitution 
and restoration, he did it so indistinctly and obscurely, that his 
hearers and disciples failed to apprehend it. To the English reader 
of the Bible, the plainest and most obvious doctrine concerning 
the destruction of the wicked, is banishment from the presence of 
the Lord, and unending punishment. 

In opposition to this, Universalists hold that by a course of 
severe discipline and chastisement, continued no one knows how- 
long, the worst specimens of human beings may be — nay, will be — 
reclaimed and saved. Man according to such a theory, is not re- 
sponsible for the actions of the life. He is the creature of circum- 
stances, and not a free agent. Sin is misfortune, without guilt. It 
is due to ignorance and not wilful. This will be taken into account 
by a merciful God, who cannot consistently doom men to endless 


Before examining certain texts of Scripture, which are differ- 
ently interpreted by UniversaHsts and orthodox Christians, let 
us start in our enquiry from what is common ground to both dis- 
putants, namely : that sins committed in the present life, shall 
unquestionably be dealt with in some wa\' in the next. There is 
no difference of opinion regarding this. What we sow now we 
shall reap hereafter. " He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh 
reap corruption, but he that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit 
reap life everlasting." " They that plough iniquity, and sow wicked- 
ness, reap the same." " By the blast of God they perish, and by 
the breath of his nostrils are they consumed." *, They that sow 
the wind, shall reap the whirlwind." 

Sin perpetuates itself. Left to itself, with no remedial influences 
from without, it increases in heinousness. Crimes never sink to 
foibles. Passions never subside into innocent eccentricities or venial 
sins. Once a sinner always a sinner, is the law of moral being, no 
external power interposing. " Where the tree falleth it lies, not by 
fatality, but by the self-perpetuating force of moral choice. " A 
sinner incorrigible in guilt and matured in depravity, makes his own 
hell. No damnation can surpass that which a malign being inflicts 
upon himself. Swedenborg says, that " God never thrusts a man 
•nto hell : he thrusts himself in — he goes of his own accord." His 
whole nature gravitates thither. If this is so, it follows that pun- 
ishment will last as long as sin lasts, and he who remains incorrigi- 
ble remains under the just condemnation of God. No one can tell 
what awful depths of wickedness a man may reach, for wickedness 
possesses no elements of exhaustion. If it makes a hell upon earth, 
why may it not make a hell in the future as everlasting as itself? 

If the seeds of sin remain in man at death, what presumptive 
evidence have we that they do not continue to exist in an intensi- 
fied degree in the future life? The wicked are driven away in their 
wickedness. The seeds of evil rankle in the soul. When dust returns 
to dust, they do not cease to germinate. The\' bear fruit in the 


immortal nature, which apart from the renewing grace of God, must 
go on from one degree of wickedness to another without possibility 
of change. Character is thus fixed at death. The habits, lusts and 
passions, contracted by a long ''fp of sin cannot afterwards be 
destroyed, but, on the contrary, have unlimited room for develop- 
ment without remedial agency. This has been admirably illustrated 
by Joseph Cook in his Monday lectures, when he says : Under 
the physical laws of gravitation a ship may careen to the right or 
left, and only a remedial effect be produced. The danger may 
make men wise, and teach the crew seamanship. Thus the penalty 
of violating up to a certain point, the physical law, is remedied in 
its tendency. But let the ship careen beyond a certain line, and 
it capsizes. If it be of iron it remains at the bottom of the sea and 
hundreds of hundreds of years of suffering of that penalty, has no 
tendency to bring it back. Under the physical laws of nature, 
plainly, there is such a thing as being too late to mend. There is 
a distinction between penalty that has no immediate remedial ten- 
dency, and a penalty that has no remedial tendency at all. Under 
the organic law, the tropical tree, gashed at a certain point, may throw 
forth its gums, and even have greater strength than before ; but 
gashed beyond the centre, cut through, the organic law is so far 
violated, that the tree falls. After a thousand years that tree can- 
not escape from the dominion of the law, which enforces such a 
penalty." And so it is, in matters affecting man's moral and spirit- 
ual condition beyond the grave. Sin grows by what it feeds on. 
The essential tendency of evil, when left to itself, is to intensify, 
accumulate, and perpetuate its own misery. Repentance is not 
possible in such circumstances, for there is no will or power, to 
cause repentance. Life and death, blessing and cursing, having 
been set before the sinner, and death and cursing having been vol- 
untarily chosen, what hope can there be of change? Esau found 
no place of repentance, after he sold his birthright, though he sought 
it carefully with tears. The condition of such a soul is graphically 
described in the poet's words, when he says : 


"Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed 
In one self-place ; but where we are is hell ; 
And where hell is there we must ever be. 
And to be short, when all this world dissolves, 
And every creature shall be purified. 
All places shall be hell which are not heaven." 

And again : 

"Which way I fly is hell, myself am hen, 
And in the lowest deep, a lower deep 
Still gaping to devour me, opens wide. 
To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven." 

That numerous passages in the word of God affirm this fact is 
not denied. There is a general agreement among all, who believe 
in the authority of the Bible and acknowledge the unequivocal 
testimony of conscience, that death does not end moral account- 
ability, and that for the man who has given no evidence of a change 
of heart and life here, there is reckoning and retribution in the world 
to come. But while Universalists hold such views, honesty compels 
us to say, that their teaching leads many criminals to believe that 
heaven's gates are opened at, or after death, to every one. " What 
is the good of my striving so hard to keep from sin and temptation, 
if my neighbor who gives himself up to the world, the flesh and 
the devil, after this life, gets to heaven ? Is it not best to go my 
own way and take my chances of life to come?" Such language is 
not uncommon, nor is it so unreasonable, viewed from a Universal- 
ist standpoint. The greatest villains and murderers that expiate 
their crimes on the scaffold, feel assured that they are about to 
enter paradise. Absolution received at the eleventh hour, without 
the least apparent change of mind and a mechanical acquiescence 
in, and acceptance of, the mercy of God, makes a mockery of a 
judgment to come, and deludes souls with the hope of salvation 
that cannot be realized, if God is a God of holiness, and sin unre- 
pentcd of deserves his wrath. 


I freely grant that Universalism is a doctrine which men would 
most naturally accept, and towards which many good men would 
gravitate, were it not for the difficulty of reconciling it with Scrip- 
ture. Sympathetic and tender natures who mourn over human 
imperfections, and who at the same time are conscious of their 
own sad violation of God's law, recoil from the idea of endless 

Dr. Albert Barnes, the well known Commentator, although a 
consistent believer in the doctrine of Eternal Punishment, had such 
feelings. Speaking on this subject on one occasion to his congre- 
gation, he said : " A hundred difficulties meet the mind when we 
think upon it ; and they meet us when we endeavor to urge our 
fellow sinners to be reconciled to God, and to put confidence in 
Him. I confess for one that I feel these, and feel them more sen- 
sibly and powerfully the more I look at them, and the Ipnger I live. 
I do not know that I have a ray of light on this subject, which I 
had not when it first flashed across my soul. I have read to some 
extent what wise and good men have written. I have looked at 
their theories and explanations. I have endeavored to weigh their 
arguments, for my whole soul pants for light and relief on these 
questions. But I get neither ; and in the distress and anguish of 
my own spirit, I confess that I see no light whatever. I see not 
one ray to disclose to me the reason why sin came into the world ; 
why the earth is strewed with the dying and the dead ; and why 
man must suffer to all eternity !" But this question is not to be 
S2ttled by the moral feeling, or by what is called the subjective con- 
sciousness, nor by ascribing to the Almighty a course of conduct at 
variance with the principles of His government 

Those who reject the doctrine of Eternal Punishment, and em- 
brace Universalism, are generally persons in whom " the sentimen- 
tal is largely in excess of the judicial," and who shudder at the 
thought of eternal misery for any number of their fellow men. The 
doctrine they argue is repugnant to the moral constitution of man, 


and must of necessity be repugnant to the moral character of God. 
It attributes to God, they say, an imperfect and cruel character, and 
makes him more malignant and cruel than the most malignant and 
cruel of men, who would not thus treat their worst enemies. Ac- 
cording to such reasoning, the moral constitution of man is the 
ultimate standard of appeal, by which God's dealings with his crea- 
tures are to be judged. As a general rule, it may be admitted, that 
whatever contradicts man's moral intuitions cannot be received as 
just and true,but care must be taken, that what we call our moral intu- 
itions are genuine, and not mere individual prejudice. " In granting 
that there are certain primary, necessary, universal moral truths, 
which a divine revelation cannot contravene, a license is not given 
to every man who may have a particular theory to maintain, to 
make out just such a list of propositions as may serve his purpose, 
and claim for them the authority of ulti.nate moral intuitions, from 
which there is no appeal." 

In saying, again, that the doctrine of Eternal Punishment is 
opposed to the justice and benevolence of God, the objector grap- 
ples with questions that are to a great extent beyond the power of 
mortals to decide. "Justice in God and justice in the creature are 
not governed by the same rules ;" nor is His benevolence to be 
judged by ours. Of one thing we may be certain, that there is no 
contradiction between the love and justice of the Almighty, and 
that eternal punishment will at last be seen to be not more the 
effect of justice than of love. Juke, in his book on the restitution 
of all things, writes as follows : 

"When I think of God's justice, which it is said inflicts not only 
millions of years of pain for each thought, or word, or act of sin 
during this short life of seventy years — not even millions of ages 
only for every such act, but a punishment which when millions of 
ages of judgment have been inflicted for every moment man has 
lived on earth, is no nearer its end than when it first commenced ; 
and all this for twenty, forty, or seventy years of sin in a world 


which is itself a vale of sorrow ; when I think of this and then of 
man, his nature, his weakness, all the circumstances of his brief 
sojourn and trial in this world ; with temptations without and a fool- 
ish heart within : with his judgment weak, his passions strong, his 
conscience judging, not helping him : with a tempter always near, 
with this world to hide a better ; when I remember that this crea- 
ture, though fallen, was once God's child, and that God is not just 
only, but loving and longsuffering ; — I cannot conclude, that this 
creature, failing to avail itself of the mercy of God offered by a 
Saviour, shall therefore find no mercy any more, but be punished 
with never-ending torment. Natural conscience protests against 
any such awful misrepresentation of Him." 

In the same strain, another Universalist says: "The assertion 
that endless torments will be inflicted upon a creature by the Being 
of infinite love, involves a contradiction in terms. I can no more 
admit the love of God to cease, than I can admit his life or intelli- 
gence to cease. There is an essential contradiction between the 
two conceptions — the infinite torment of a creature, and the infinite 
love of God." 

In both these quotations, and indeed by all Universalist writers, 
the generally accepted doctrine of the Church is misrepresented. 
That doctrine is, that punishment shall be meted out according to 
the deeds of the individual sinner, and with reference to the light 
enjoyed by each — those who sinned without law perishing without 
law, and those who sinned under the law being judged by the law, 
some being beaten with few, and others with many stripes, and not 
that in every instance the torment shall be infinite and the agony 
unutterable. Shall not the Judge of all do right? Freed from all 
misconceptions and misrepresentations, the question at issue is 
simply this, — Is it consistent with the love of Goo to inflict upon 
transgressors sufferings, varying In degree according to their indi- 
vidual merits, which shall continue for ever ? 


In reply to this question, wc condense from the writings of 
Dr. Watt of Belfast, and Professor Phelps of Andover. The former 
says : " In so far as the subjects of the infliction are concerned, love 
has nothing whatever to do with punishment. If the question were, 
How long, or in what measure a Being of love would chastise ? 
there would be some show of propriety in urging it : for chastise- 
ment is at once the offspring and instrument of love. Such a 
question bears upon its face the impress of propriety, and suggests 
its own answer ; for as the object of chastisement is the reforma- 
tion of the subject of it, love will not inflict a single stroke, or 
extract a single sigh or tear, beyond what is necessary to the attain- 
ment of that end. Very different, however, is the end aimed at in 
punishment. The chief end of punishment is the satisfaction of 
justice; and whatever collateral ends the infliction of it may sub- 
serve, it is not for these, as the supreme end, it is inflicted. 

There is, indeed, one way in which the duration or measure of 
punishment may involve the question of love, or, at least, of benev- 
olence. The question may arise, " How long, and in what meas- 
ure, is it necessary to punish sin so as to secure the interests of the 
moral universe ?" This is like the question, " How long, and in 
what measure, is it necessary to punish a band of rebels so as to 
secure the interests and welfare of the nation at large ?" The an- 
swer, of course, would be, " Just as long as the rebels persist in their 
rebellion," If they continue to speak treason and plot insurrection, 
and manifest their hatred of the existing authority, then, apart from 
the question of justice altogether, it were at variance with benevo- 
lence to open the prison gates and let such despisers of law and 
government loose upon society. Under this aspect of it, punish- 
ment may be regarded as correlative to benevolence ; for it would 
be not only unrighteous but unkind to remove the restraints where- 
by these fomenters of social discord are withheld from subverting 
the pillars which sustain the commonwealth. Nor is the principle 
involved different when the government is that exercised by God 


over His moral intelligences, and the subjects of punitive inflictions, 
rebels against His authority. 

If human governments may, without violating the claims of 
benevolence, erect a prison for rebels, surely the Divine govern- 
ment may prepare a prison for those who defy its authority : and 
if it would be unkind, as well as impolitic, for the admistrator 
of law among men to amnesty avowed rebels, surely it is not unbe- 
nevolent for the sovereign of the universe to restrain fallen angels 
and wicked men, from disturbing the harmony and marring the 
beauty of His empire, so long as their moral estate as rebels re- 
mains unchanged. Perpetual treason demands, even on the score 
of benevolence, perpetual imprisonment. Eternal rebellion against 
the Divine government must carry with it eternal punishment, if 
the governor have regard for the interests of his loyal subjects. 
Punishment therefore, and those upon whom it is inflicted, lie out- 
side the pale of benevolence : and it is simply a confusion of attri- 
butes, which are as regards their objects and spheres fundamentally 
distinct and diverse, to represent the Judge of all the earth, as act- 
ing under the impulses of love in the infliction of penal suffering 
upon his enemies. 

If the principle of the objection in question be valid, God cannot 
PUNISH sin at all ; for if we are warranted in arguing against infi- 
nite punishment from the infinite love of God, it must be on the 
assumption that love is, in its nature, opposed to PUNISHMENT. 
On this assumption alone can love furnish any argument against 
penal suffering. But if love be, in its nature, opposed to punish- 
ment, perfect love must be absolutely opposed to punishment, that 
is, must be opposed to the infliction of punishment altogether ; 
and as infinite love is perfect, it must, on the principle of the objec-- 
tion, be obvious, that a Being possessing such an attribute must, by 
virtue of His very nature, not only abstain from, but stand infinitely 
opposed to the infliction of penal suffering upon His creatures. 


Professor Phelps in meetitifj these questions : Is endless punish- 
ment unjust? Is it inconsistent with the character of God ? writes 
as follows : " We do not know that the prevention of sin under 
moral government IS POSSIBLE TO THE POWER OF GOD. In the 
constitution of things some contingencies involve contradictions. 
God cannot execute absurdities. He cannot so change the mathe- 
matical relations of numbers that, to the human mind, twice five 
shall be more or less than ten. 

These are changes which God is as powerless to effect as man. 
They involve absurdities. They bear no relation to omnipotent 
power. For aught that we know, this same principle may pervade 
the moral universe. We live under moral government. Our chief 
distinction is the possession of a moral nature. Within the limits 
prescribed to moral freedom, a moral being, be he man or angel, is 
as imperial in his autocracy as God is in the infinite range of his 
being. This, God has himself ordained. Man's supreme endow- 
ment is his ability to be what he wills to be, to do what he chooses 
to do, to become what he elects to become in his growth ot ages. 

We do not know that the prevention of sin, under a moral gov- 
ernment, IS POSSIBLE TO THE WISDOM OF GOD. The infinite and 
eternal expediences of the moral universe may forbid it. We do 
not know the infinite complications of any act of God. A sublime 
unity characterizes all God's ways. His government is imperial. 
One aim, one plan, one animus, rules the whole. Speaking in the 
dialect of human government, one policy sways the uni\'erse. We 
do not know, therefore, the remote consequences of a policy chosen 
for the administration of one world. It has invisible convolutions 
and reticulations in the history of other worlds. To have chosen 
tht nolicy of prevention in the regulation of sin here might have 
necessitated changes in government elsewhere, which would have 
been revolutionary in their working. Convulsions in consequence 
might have shaken the foundations of moral government every- 
where. True wo cannot affirm it, but neither can we deny it. 


If it may not be possible to divine power, and if it may not be 
possible to divine wisdom, to prevent sin in the government of God, 
then we affirm, further, that it MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE TO DIVINE 
BENEVOLENCE. A benevolent God can do only practicable things. 
He can do only wise things. He can do only that which infinite 
power can do, under the direction of infinite wisdom. 

The non-prevention of sin, therefore, in this world of ours may 
have been the best thing which, under the conditions here existing, 
benevolence could plan for. Speaking after the analogy of human 
governments, the policy of non-interference may, in many instances 
of human guilt, have been the policy of love. To let sin alone in 
some cases may be the dictate of benevolence. To leave it in the 
awful extremity of evil developed and matured, to which it natur- 
ally dri-fts by the force of its own momentum, may be the first and 
last and best decree of that watchful love which notes the fall of 
a sparrow. True, again, we cannot, reasoning from the nature of 
the case, affirm that it is so, but we must prove that it is not so, 
before we can hold God unworthy in his treatment of endless sin 
by the infliction of endless pains. 

Why God should CREATE beings, who will slowly but surely 
weave around themselves the endless curse, is the mystery which I 
do not pretend to solve. On that problem I profess no belief. But 
that some men should go to Hell, being what they are, is no mys- 
tery. Where else can they go in a spiritual universe? That there 
should be a Hell, sin and sinners at their climax of moral growth 
being what they are, is no mystery. What other place is in moral 
affinity with them ? Such a world is inevitable in the nature of 
things in a universe where sin has any impregnable lodgment. But 
the reasons of God for creating such beings and permitting the 
deathless ravages of such an evil are beyond my conception. 

Must I, therefore, refuse my faith to the fact of their creation 
and their doom ? If I withhold faith from everything in God's 
doings for which I do not know the reasons, my creed must be told 


in few words, and its chief dogma must be : "What a monument 
of unutterable folly I am !" 

The sentences in the above quotation — " That some men should 
go to Hell, being what they are is no mystery : where else can they 
go in a spiritual universe ? What other place is in moral affinity 
with them ?" — are deserving of special notice. While these pages 
are passing through the press, the Christian world has been startled 
by fearful revelations of crime, in the great metropolis of England, 
and righteous indignation expressed at the abettors of such wicked- 
ness. One of our religious weeklies pertinently asks the question : 
Do our Universalist friends still think that the Creator could make 
a perfect moral universe, without providing a hell? If the crimes 
of the London debauchees so inflame the righteous indignation of 
every just man, how must such crimes effect a God of infinite purity 
and of infinite pity for the victims of these criminals? Imagine 
such villains, who boast of destroying innocents, coming before the 
great white throne. Would any right minded man find any " moral 
difficulty " in saying " Amen " to the sentence " Depart, ye cursed." 
In 1850 when the vigilance committee in the city of San Francisco 
had done its needed work of expurgation, Dr. Bushnell, who chanced 
to be a witness of the crimes there perpetrated, preached a sermon 
suggested by the alarming condition of society, in which he said : 
"What kind of heaven would it make to move off bodily into the 
eternal future, this same people just as they are? Just as good as 
it makes here, and no better. These revenges, frauds, bribes, per- 
juries and deeds of blood, these abuses of power, these factions, fears 
and tumults, all that makes you toss in throes of troubled appre- 
hension, represents a character, as shadows do their substances. 
Who can imagine that out of such a material is to come order, love, 
ideal harmony, and the golden concert of a common joy before 
God ? Why the irruption there of such a company would scare 
the angels from their songs, and extinguish the fires that light up 
the faces of the seraphim. When the Scriptures, therefore, declare, 


that such shall not be admitted, what dignity of reason is there in 
the decree ? And when it is pubHshed in solemn specification — 
' Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor thieves, 
nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revelers, nor extortioners, shall 
inherit the Kingdom of God.' Who is there even of those that are 
consciously named in the catalogue, that will not now, in this day 
of public misery, admit the necessary reason of the decree, and that 
even Eternal Goodness could not frame it otherwise ?" 

Common sense requires what the Scriptures teach, that there 
will be a discrimination in the future state, between the condition 
of the righteous and the wicked, corresponding to the difference of 
their characters here. 

Can any man in his sober senses believe, that on that awful day, 
intended for the manifestation of Divine justice, there will be no 
distinction made between the righteous and the wicked : that 
abandoned sinners, who by the immediate vengeance of heaven, 
were cut off by dreadful judgment, shall go directly to the regions 
of heavenly bliss ; that it will fare as well with the rebellious sinner, 
as with the man who has served his God ? 

The story is told of a certain Universalist preacher who was 
telling his little son the story of the " Babes in the wood." The 
boy asked " what became of the poor little children ?" " They 
went to heaven," replied the father. "And what became of the 
wicked old uncle ?" " He went to heaven too." "Won't he kill them 
again, father?" asked the boy. The child's question opened up to 
the father the absurdity of his doctrine of universal and indiscrim- 
inate salvation, and led him to renounce his belief in it. 

In his little volume, entitled " Love and Penalty," or Eternal 
Punishment consistent with the Fatherhood of God, the late Dr. 
Joseph P. Thomson, of the Broadway Tabernacle, New York, meets 
the objection founded upon the justice and benevolence of the 
Divine Being, under the following propositions : 


I. Our own nature, which is appealed to as refusing to recog- 
nize the attribute of primitive justice in a God of love, in fact de- 
mands this attribute as essential to the moral perfection of the 
Deity — an attribute without which He could not command the con- 
fidence and homage of his intelligent creatures. 

II. The retributive forces continually at work in the natural 
world, and the primitive dealings of Providence with men, compel 
us either to admit that punitive justice in the Divine Being is con- 
sistent with paternal love, or regard the Head of creation and of 
providence as a tyrant. 

HI. The history of Israel, the chosen people of God, to whom 
he revealed himself as a father, abounds in visitations upon them 
for their sins. If God has punished transgression in those to whom 
he was expressly revealed as a Father, he may punish the wicked 
hereafter, though he is a Father. 

IV. Christ, who has so fully revealed God as a Father, teaches 
that God will punish the wicked in the future world ; and we can- 
not claim his testimony upon the first point, unless we receive his 
testimony on the second also. 

V. The high and sacred Fatherhood which the Gospel reveals, 
is a Fatherhood in Christ toward those who love Him ; and not a 
general Fatherhood of indiscriminate love and blessing to the race. 
God is not the Father of those who have made themselves the child-' 
ren of the devil, in any sense which would exempt them from 
Christ's anticipative sentence, " Ye shall die in j'our sins," 

VI. The demerit of sin demands that God should punish the 
sinner, if he would demonstrate his love for his intelligent creatures, 
and his care for the highest welfare of the moral universe ; and no 
punishment equal to the demerit of sin is, or can be, inflicted in the 
present life. 

VII. Since this desert of punishment to the sinner arises from 
that endowment of the agency which is essential to the attainment 
of that peculiar blessedness, which is only within the reach of a 


moral being, and since the means of recovery from sin and of deliv- 
erance from condemnation can be made available only in the use 
of that same free agency of the sinner ; and since the love of God 
has made the most ample provision of pardon, and has proffered 
this to the sinner with Divine compassion and importunity, but 
only in vain ; — there remains no conceivable mode, as there is no 
revealed promise, by which the Fatherhood of God can make one 
dying in impenitence and unbelief, holy and blessed in the future 

VIII. The DURA'^ION of the future punishment of the wicked, 
cannot in any wise be limited by the mere fact of God's Father- 
hood as made known in Christ ; but must be determined by the 
element of sin of which God alone can judge, and ascertained by 
us from the declarations of the Scriptures, which reason can inter- 
pret. The question ot degrees of punishment is altogether second- 
ary to the fact that, " He that believeth not the Son, shall not see 
life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him." 

It is indeed admitted by everyone, that the severest punish- 
ments with which God visits men on earth are perfectly consistent 
with His goodness and benevolence, and where these cease to have 
a disciplinary effect, who shall dare to say that God is unjust when 
He puts upon them the seal of His final condemnation of sin in 
eternal banishment from His presence? The facts of the present 
life are all against the teachings of Universalism, and it is only by 
these and the word of God that we can judge of the future. If men 
can resist the pleadings of Divine love here — obstinate persistence 
in evil can resist law and repel God's mercy there, even were new 
influences for good brought to bear upon the soul in another state. 

Such truths are not relished by the mass of men. " Ye shall 
not surely die," is eagerly listened to, rather than God's declaration, 
"In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." Nor 
is this surprising. The very thought of eternal woe becoming the 
portion of any number of the human famil}-, is enough to overwhelm 


the soul. We do not love to preach such terrible truths, if men 
could be otherwise led to realize the evil of sin, and be persuaded 
by the tenderer manifestations of Calvary. But as the servants of 
the Most High, no part of the message committed to us dare be 
kept back. " O son of man," said God to the Prophet Ezekiel, " I 
have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel ; therefore, thou 
shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When 
I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die ; if thou 
dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man 
shall die in his iniquity, but his blood shall I require at thir e 

Christ himself preached such doctrine. Loving-hearted and 
compassionate beyond all human conception, He never taught that 
there was pardon or probation after death. The tares were net 
transplanted and transformed into wheat, but burned up, with no 
promise of resurrection from their ashes. The barren branches of 
the vine were not cut off, laid away for a season, and then reunited 
t3 the parent tree. The door was never opened to the foolish vir- 
gins. In the descriptions given of the dread transactions of the 
day of judgment, the idea of finality appears not in single words or 
phrases only, but in the power and vividness of the pictures, taken 
as a whole. The images made use of represent a closing scene — 
" It is the last great act in the drama of human existence — the set- 
tlement or reckoning of the world when God demands again the 
ages fled." Even were it otherwise and the question of restoration 
or no restoration left indeterminate, and men allowed to " faintly 
trust the larger hope," it ought only to be faintly, for the solemn 
silence of Scripture would be ominous of doom ! 

If then we have but one probationary life to live, how careful 
ought we be to spend it seriously, not in rioting and drunkenness, 
nor in chambering and wantonness, not as children of the night and 
darkness, but as children of the day and the light. 


"Nothing is worth a thought beneath, 
But how we may escaoe the death 
That never, never dies." 

Victor Hugo, in his famous book " Les Miserables," draws the 
tragic picture of a man sinking in the quicksand and unable to re- 
gain the sohr" earth. It serves to gives us some faint idea of the 
wretchedness of a lost soul when it begins to realize the fixedness 
of its destiny for eternity : 

" It sometimes happens, on certain coasts of Britanny or Scot- 
land, that a man, traveller, or fisherman, walking on the beach at 
low tide, far from the bank, suddenly notices that for several min- 
utes he has been walking with some difficulty. The strand beneath 
his feet is like pitch ; his soles stick to it ; it is sand no longer, it is 
glue. The beach is perfectly dry, but at every step he takes, as 
soon as he lifts his foot, the print which it leaves fills with water. 
The eye, however, has noticed no change ; the immense strand is 
smooth and tranquil, all the sand has the same appearance, nothing 
distinguishes the surface which is solid from the surface which is no 
longer so. * * * Suddenly he sinks in. He 

sinks in two or three inches. Decidedly he is not on the right road. 
He stops to take his bearings. All at once he looks at his feet. 
His feet have disappeared. The sand covers them. He draws his 
feet out of the sand ; he will retrace his steps, he turns back, he 
sinks in deeper. The sand comes up to his ankles ; he pulls him- 
self out and throws himself to the left — the sand is half-leg deep ; 
he throws himself to the right — the sand comes up to his shins. 
Then he recognizes, with unspeakable terror, that he is caught in 
quicksand, and that he has beneath him the fearful medium, in 
which man can no more walk than the fish can swim. He throws 
off his load, if he has one ; he lightens himself like a ship in dis- 
tress ; it is already too late — the sand is above his knees. He calls, 
he waves hat or handkerchief; the sand gains on him more and 
more ; if the beach is deserted, if the land is too far off, if the sand- 


bank is too il! of repute, if there is no hero in sight, it is all over — 
he is condemned to enlizement. He is condemned to that appal- 
Ung interment, long, infallible, implacable, impossible to slacken or 
hasten, which endures for hours, which will not end, seizes you 
erect, free, and in full health, which draws you li^p8|feet ; which, 
at every effort that you attempt, at every shout you utter, drags 
you a little deeper ; which appears to punish you for your resist- 
ance by a redoubling of its grasp, which sinks the man slowly into 
the earth, while it leaves him all the time to look at the horizon, 
the trees, the green fields, the smoke of the villages in the plain, 
the sails of the ships upon the sea, the birds flying and singing, the 
sunshine, the sky, the grave become a tide and rising from the depths 
of the earth towards a living man ; each minute is an inexorable en- 
shroudress. The victim attempts to sit down, to lie down, to creep ; 
every movement he makes inters him ; he straightens up : he sinks 
in, he feels that he is being swallowed up, he howls, cries to the 
clouds, wrings his hands, despairs ; behold him waist deep in the 
sand, the sand reaches his breast, he is now only a bust. He raises 
his arms, utters furious groans, clutches the beach with his nails 
would hold by that straw, leans on his elbow to pull himself out of 
this soft sheath, sobs frenziedly ; the sand rises. The sand reaches 
his shoulders, the sand reaches his neck, the face alone is visible 
now. The mouth cries, the sand fills it — silence. The eyes still 
gaze, the sand shuts them — night. Then the forehead decreases, a 
little hair flutters above the sand, a hand protrudes, comes through 
the surface of the beach, moves and shakes, and disappears." 

Terrible as is the fate of a human being thus suddenly and help- 
lessly engulphed, and indescribable as must be his feelings in the 
closing moments of mortal existence, it is overshadowed by the 
despair of the man who retains throughout eternity the conscious- 
ness of having sinned away his day of grace. In the account given 
of the exploration of the Amazon, mention is made of the peculiar 
notes of a bird heard by night on the shores of the river. The 


Indian guides call it " The cry of a lost soul," and many of them 
believe it to be so. 

" In that black forest, where, wnen day is done, 
With a snake's stillness glides the Amazon, 
Darkly from sunset to the rising sun 
A cry, as if the pained heart of the wood — 
The long despairing moan of solitude — 
Startles the traveller with a sound so drear, 
His heart stands still and listens like his ear. 
The guide, as if he heard a dead-bell toll, 
Starts, crosses himself, and whispers — " A lost soul." 
Poor fool, with hope still mocking his despair, 
lie wanders, shrieking on the midnight air, 
For human pity and for Christian prayer. 
Saints, strike him dumb ! 
No prayer for him, who sinning unto death, 
Burns always in the furnace of God's wrath." 

The Indian superstition is alas, not all fancy. That there are 
lost souls, who can doubt. Nor dare any man plead honestly that 
his creed led him astray ; that he was taught to believe that salva- 
tion was coextensive with the entire human family. Any creed 
that conflicts with the manifest spirit of the Bible ought not to be 
trusted or tolerated. That which appeals to the passions and pan- 
ders to the baser appetites of sense, and offers indulgence for vice, 
must be regarded with suspicion, and rejected as blasphemous. 
Men need not be imposed upon. Universalism subverts the entire 
scheme of redemption, and leaves no middle ground between simple 
faith and open infidelity. A man may not all at once let go his 
hold of the other doctrines of Christianity, but of necessity he must 
ultimately ignore the whole circle of revelation. Every day wc 
read of vessels stranded on the coast, and hundreds of souls perish- 
ing within sight of land. Why such loss of life ? For the most 
part they were well officered, manned by gallant crews, and strongly 
framed of oak and iron. But because one proper signal light was 
missing, or a mistake made as to the light and its distance n-om 


the shore, the vessels were put off their course and became total 
wrecks. Ah ! there are many souls sailing on the ocean of life 
towards eternity that are misled by false lights that glimmer along 
the way and lure to destruction. Presuming that the rocks are 
twenty miles distant, when they are only one, does not prevent the 
total loss of ship and passengers. The excuse that the fog was so 
dense, does not bring back life to the dead who lie in the bed of the 
ocean. Nor will a false hope in the mercy of God, at the expense 
of His justice and holiness, ameliorate the sufferings of the man 
who trifles with sin and mocks at a day of judgment 1 

Leaving the domain of human reason and feeling, the Scriptures, 
it will be admitted, are the only reliable source of information 
regarding the future condition of the impenitent and the righteous 
alike. The inner sense or conscience may afford presumptive 
evidence in favor of one view as against another, but after all, our 
appeal must be made to the judge of all the earth, whose revelation 
alone decides the destiny of souls beyond the grave. It is Christ 
who has brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel. To 
the law and to the testimony, if we speak not according to this 
word, it is because there is no light in us. 

Universalists say that the testimony of Scripture is at first sight 
contradictory, and apparently irreconcilable. That it is to them 
exceedingly perplexing is evident, for in spite of considerable inge- 
nuity and lengthened reasoning, it is difficult for the most promi- 
nent apologists of Restorationism to explain away direct passages 
of Scripture that assert the unchanging moral condition of immortal 
beings beyond the grave. It is by analogy more than by direct 
argument that the doctrine of Universalism is supported — by at- 
tempting to show that in certain other passages of Scripture the 
words used by Christ in speaking of the punishment of the wicked, 
mean something else. It is a process of reasoning, that may be 


congenial to scholars, but is utterly repugnant to the plain unso- 
phisticated men and women, who imagine the Bible to be written 
in a form easily understood and level to the comprehension of the 
humblest reader, without any hidden or covert interpretation which 
would completely subvert its apparent meaning. 

The texts of Scripture cited by Universalists to show that God 
will save all men, independent of character in the present world, are 
such as these : "In Abraham's seed shall all the kindreds of the 
earth be blessed." " The times of the restitution of all things." 
" God hath purposed in Himself, according to His good pleasure, to 
reconcile unto Himself, in and by Christ, all things, whether they 
b2 things in heaven or things on the earth." " Creation, which now 
groans and travails in pain, shall be delivered from the bondage of 
corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God." " God 
was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself" " Christ took 
our flesh and blood, that through death He might destroy him that 
had the power of death, that is, the devil." " As by one offence, 
judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the 
righteousness of one, the free gift comes on all, unto justification of 
life." As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made 
alive." "The end shall not come, till all are subject to Him, that 
God may be all in all, and hath put all His enemies under His feet." 
" He shall gather together in one, all things in Christ, both which 
are in Heaven, and which are on earth." " At the name of Jesus 
every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, that Jesus 
Christ is Lord." " God sent not His son into the world, to con- 
demn the world, but that the world by Him might be saved.' 
" Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world." " I, if 
I be lifted up from the earth, shall draw all men unto me," 

From such passages Universalists argue, that not only believers, 
who are the first fruits, but those who miss the glory of the first- 
born, shall be saved ; the one being gathered in spring, the other 
in autumn ; the latter harvest needing a greater heat than the first 


fruits ; that in the world to come, the curses pronounced upon the 
ungodly here shall be turned into blessings, and that those who are 
now turnino- blessinsfs into curses, will find that God can make even 
these curses, blessings ; that such phrases as the second death, the 
lake of fire, and the resurrection to judgment or condemnation, are 
parts of God's redemptive plan for the universe, and the method of 
freeing those who in no other way can be delivered from the power 
of sin ; and that it is through this very death that the power of the 
devil is to be destroyed and swallowed up in victory. 

In reply to such arguments, we remark that it is not denied 
that certain texts of scripture say that Christ died for all. Evan- 
gelical Christians of the most rigid type can accept the statement. 
But these passages do not say that all will be saved. The way of 
salvation is open, but to walk in it is a different thing. 

But still further. In regard to those texts of scripture that 
speak of the purpose of God to reconcile all things unto Himself 
(Ephesians ist, v. lo ; Colossians ist, v. lo), until we have deter- 
mined who and what are the " all " who are to be reconciled to God, 
we can base no argument upon them for the doctrine of Universalism. 
Isolated texts of scripture ought never to be taken to support any 
important article of faith. Clearly the " all things " spoken of can- 
not mean everything in nature, for the material universe is not sus- 
ceptible of reconciliation to God. Nor can they refer to irrational 
animals, who need no reconciliation, their life being limited to the 
present. Nor can they refer to all rational beings, for in Hebrews 
ii. 1 6, it is taught, that Christ did not die to redeem fallen angels, 
although this is disputed by certain Universalists. Nor can they 
mean all men, for the Scriptures teach that all men are not recon- 
ciled to God. The only legitimate meaning of such a phrase, is to 
apply it to such as are saved by faith — the people of God of every 
communion and every clime, who have redemption through his 
blood, and the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of his 


In reference to the passages in Romans 5th, v. 18, and ist Cor. 
1 5th, V. 22, " As by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men 
to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift 
came upon all men unto justification of life ;" " For as in Adam all 
die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive," — the " all " must 
again be limited by the context, and the analogy of scripture. If 
the scriptures teach elsewhere that all men are saved, then Univer- 
salism is true, but if they teach the contrary, then these passages 
give no countenance whatever to such a doctrine. Texts of such a 
character standing alone decide nothing. 

Take only two additional texts : 1st Corinthians, 15, v. 25, and 
1st Timothy, 2, v. 4, " He must reign till he hath put all enemies 
under his feet," — '• who will have all men to be saved, and to come 
to a knowledge of the truth." The former may mean that Christ 
must reign until all sin and misery are banished from the universe, 
but not necessarily, for Satan and wicked men may be subdued 
without either being converted or annihilated, while the latter pas 
sage depends for its correct interpretation on the meaning of the 
word "will." If it means to purpose or decree, then it favors Uni- 
versalism, but if it means as numerous other passages, to have com- 
placency in, it simply teaches what all the Scriptures do, that God 
has no pleasure in the death of sinners, but rather desires their 

Turning now to the positive tests of Scripture in favor of end- 
less punishment, it is to be remarked that the doctrine is taught in 
the Old as well as the New Testament, not perhaps so clearly or 
prominently in such a preparatory and shadowy dispensation, but 
sufficient to deter men from pursuing a course of wickedness in the 
false hope of pardon and restoration to the favor of God. In Isaiah 
xxxiii. 14, we read, "Who among us shall dwell with the devour- 
ing fire ? Who among us shall dwell vvith everlasting burn- 
ings ?" In verse 24, of the 66th chapter of the same book, it is 
said of those who are to be excluded from the new heavens and 



tlie new earth, that their worm shall not die. neither shall their fire 
be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh, while in 
Daniel xii. 2, it is said of the wicked that they " shall awake to 
shame and everlasting contempt." Our Lord's own teaching is still 
more definite and emphatic : " I say unto you my friends, be not 
afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more 
power that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall 
fear ; fear him which, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into 
hell. I say unto you, fear him." " He that believeth on the Son 
hath .verlasting life, he that believeth not the Son, shall not see 
life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." " The wicked shall go 
away into everlasting punishment." " He shall say unto them on . 
the left hand, depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, 
prepared for the devil and his angels " They that have done 
evil, shall come forth from their graves unto the resurrection of 
damnation." "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not 

The language of the apostles is equally strong. Paul says 
"some " are saved by the Gospel, while others perish, that •' many 
walk whose end is destruction ; " " that the Lord Jesus shall be 
revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not 
God, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the 
presence of the Lord ;" that "to such as sin wilfully there remain- 
eth no more sacrifice for sins, but a fearful looking for of judgment 
and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries — to whom 
God is a consuming fire." St. Peter asks, " If the righteous scarcely 
be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinners appear?" And 
teaches, that wicked men bring upon themselves swift destruction, 
and shall, like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, utterly perish in 
their own corruption. St. John uses words to the same effect : 
" The fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and mur- 
derers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all 
liars, shall have their part in the lake which burnetii with fire and 


brimstone, which is the second death." " He that is unjust, let him 
be unjust still : and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still ; and 
he that is righteous, let him be righteous still ; and he that is holy, 
let him be holy still." 

Now regarding such passages of Scripture, Universalists say, 
we cannot explain them — their meaning is open to question, but 
they do not teach the doctrine of eternal punishment — if not, then 
we ask what do they teach ? The reply differs, according to the 
shade of Universalist belief. Some answer, that those who on earth 
reject the Gospel, do by their present rejection of Christ lose a 
glory, which if now lost, is lost forever, and bring upon themselves 
a judgment of darkness and anguish unspeakable, but not eternal, 
while others do not pretend to have any definite idea of what the 
Bible teaches on the subject. They, indeed, are eloquent in their 
passionate disclaimers of the orthodox doctrines of hell, but give 
us no positive or consistent interpretation of such passages. Surely 
we have a right to demand of men, who hold up to scorn the tor- 
ment of the lost, as inconsistent with the character of God — to tell 
us what the Bible means to convey by such pictures ? It is easy 
to purchase a cheap, but not enviable, notoriety by exaggerating 
and denouncing the orthodox doctrine of future punishment, but it 
is quite another thing to face the awful declarations of Scripture, 
and explain them to the satisfaction of candid minds. 

To go over in detail certain passages, which the Universalists 
have grappled with, and give in detail the meanings put upon them, 
would not only be wearisome, but confusing to the ordinary reader. 
One or two instances will indicate the mode of argument adopted. 
"These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the right- 
eous into life eternal." The words " everlasting " and " eternal " 
are the same in the original. Hence we surely have a right to 
argue that whatever may be the meaning in the case of the lost, it 
must be the same in the case of the saved. If the endless punish- 
ment of the wicked is uncertain, so must be the everlasting life of 


the blessed. But we are assured of the absolute endlessness of the 
life of believers in Christ, for " because he lives they shall live here- 
after." It follows then, that everlasting death, whatever that means, 
is the portion of the wicked. If heaven is endless, why not hell? 
— the two states or conditions of being are presented in parallel 
language, and indicate the same duration. 

To this it is replied : The word everlasting or eternal is in cer- 
tain other passages of Scripture, applied to what is not eternal, and 
therefore we have a right to believe that it does not mean " eternal " 
here. The word punishment also in its primary sense means simply 
pruning, or corrective discipline, for the benefit of him who suffers 
it, therefore the passage only teaches that so far from the godless 
being lost forever, they only miss the first resurrection to eternal 
life, but are eventually saved by means of this everlasting discipline ! 

Such a style of reasoning is not satisfactory, as can be shown 
by selecting three passages of Scripture where the same word is 
used with reference to the punishment of Satan, the endless worship 
of the redeemed, and the portion of the wicked. The first passage 
is found in Revelation xx. lo, "The devil that deceived was cast 
into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false pro- 
phet are, and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and 
ever " — " for aeons and aeons." The second passage is found in 
Revelation V. 13-14, "Blessing and honor, and glory, and power, 
unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever 
and ever — for aeons and aeons — and the four-and-twenty elders fell 
down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever — for aeons 
and aeons." The third passage is found in Mathew xxv. 41, "Depart 
from Mc, ye accursed, into everlasting 'aionial ' fire, prepared for 
the devil and his angels." Now the first passage teaches that the 
punishment of the devil and his allies will continue for ever and 
ever — for aeons and aeons. The second teaches that God lives dur- 
ing aeons of aeons — for ever and ever — and that the praises also of 
God and the Lamb will continue during aeons of aeons — for ever 


and ever. The third teaches that at the last great day, the Judge 
will send away those who are cursed, or adjudged worthy of pun- 
ishment, into the everlasting, or " aionial," fire, prepared for the 
devil and his angels. Now, the " aionial," or everlasting fire, pre- 
dicted in the last passage, is one and the same with the fires of 
Aion, predicted in the first, and the duration predicted in the first 
is the same as that specified in the second, and the duration pre- 
dicted in the last is equal to that of the first, therefore, the duration 
of punishment of those who shall be adjudged worthy of such at 
the last day, will be equal to the duration of the praises of God and 
the Lamb, which will continue as long as God liveth. 

As further illustrations of how the Scriptures are wrested, to 
support the views of Universalists, take two other well known pass- 
ages of the word of God. In Matthew xxii. 31-32, we find these 
words, referring to the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost. 
•'Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall 
be forgiven unto men : but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost 
shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word 
against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him ; but whosoever 
speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, 
neither in this world, neither in the world to come." This text, 
says the Universalist, does not teach never-ending punishment, for 
sin here or hereafter. It simply teaches that the sin against the 
Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven here or in the coming age, but 
says notning of those ages to come, elsewhere revealed in Scripture. 
In another age, even the sin against the Holy Ghost shall be for- 
given, and the possibilities of Divine mercy be gloriously manifested. 

In Mark ix. 43-48 : " If thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is 
better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to 
go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched, where their 
worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched : and if thy foot offend 
thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter halt into life than hav- 


ing two feet to be cast into hell, where their worm dieth not and th^ 
fire is not quenched ; and if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out ; it 
is better for thee to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye 
than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire, where their worm 
dieth not and the fire is not quenched." These last words, " the fire 
not quenched," says the Universalist, refers to the fire for the burnt 
offering, which was kept continually burning on the altar, and not 
to never-ending punishment. It simply indicates the means by 
which men are fitted for a state of acceptance with God ! Finally, 
as for the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, to which we have 
already referred, it is chiefly parabolic, teaching that despite of 
special privileges in this world, the Jew may suffer in the next, 
while the outcast Gentile will be first saved ; and specially that the 
great gulf fixed between Dives and Lazarus, although impassible 
to man, can be traversed by Christ, who can bring the last prisoner 
out of hell ! Morley Punshon, lately gone to his rest and reward, 
gives a different and truer meaning to the parable. After remark- 
ing that even if the spirit of perdition could return to earth, with 
the thunder scar of the Eternal on his brow, and his heart writhing 
under the blasted immortality of hell, to tell the secrets of his prison 
house, men would not repent, he describes the closing scene in a 
life of song and wine and beauty, by saying : " The rich man died 
and was buried, and in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and 
seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom, he cried and 
said — the only prayer that I know of, the whole Bible through, to 
a saint or angel, and that by a damned spirit, and never answered — 
" I pray thee, father Abraham, that thou wouldst send Lazarus that 
he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I 
am tormented in this flame." Listen to it, the song of the lost 
worldling in hell. Who will set it to music ? Which heart is tun- 
ing for it now? Sinner, is it thine? Oh, surely the bare possibi- 
lity of such a doom ought to arrest the most reckless and defiant. 
As the poet says : 


"Sad world indeed, ah ! who can bear 

Forever there to dwell, 
Forever sinking in despair, 

In all the pains of hell ? 

The breath of God, His angry breath 

Supplies and fans the fire ; 
There sinners taste the second death, 

And would, but can't, expire. 

Conscience, the never-dying worm, 

With torture gnaws the heart ; 
And woe and wrath in every form, 

Is now the sinner's part. 

There yet remains for us to show that the words "aeon," 
"aionios," and " aionial " mean in by far the largest number of in- 
stances in the New Testament, endless duration. The truth or 
falsity of Universalism, so far as the mere literal interpretation is 
concerned, must be settled by enquiring into the meaning of these 
words, com.monly translated " forever," " ever," " eternal," and 
"everlasting." In classical use, these words are rendered long con- 
tinuing, eternal, unlimited, and everlasting, just as they are used in 
scripture. Passing over, then, the use of the word " aion " in the 
New Testament, as applied to God or Christ, and also to the hap- 
piness of the good in the future world — which is not disputed by 
any who believe in a future state and the immortality of the soul — 
we find that in fifty-five instances in the New Testament it means 
an unlimited period of duration, either past or future, apart alto- 
gether from those passages — five in number, where it is clearly used 
in respect to future punishment, and if we add these cases, and those 
v/hich refer to the dominion of Messiah, there are sixty-four cases 
out of ninety-four in all, where it means unlimited, boundless dura- 
tion. From a most minute examination of every instance where 
the word is used in the New Testament indicating time, the highest 


scholarship concludes, that it means indefinite, unlimited time — a 
future period tnat has no bounds or limits. 

Coming to the word " aionios," derived from " aion," in classic 
use it means long continued, eternal, everlasting ; substantiall\' 
agreeing with the word "aion," when used in relation to time. In 
the New Testament, it generally signifies perpetual, never-ending, 
eternal, and is always so emplo}'ed, with reference to the happiness 
of the righteous and the abode prepared for the glorified in the 
future life. The word is used sixty-six times in the New Testa- 
ment. In flfty-one instances it refers to the happiness of the right- 
eous, in two instances to God or the glory of God, in six instances 
with different meanings, and in seven instances to future punish- 
ment. Leaving out the seven instances, in which the word is used 
respecting future punishment, the conclusion reached by the ablest 
theologians is, that if the rest have not the meaning of endless dura- 
tion, "then the scriptures do not decide that God is eternal, not that^ 
the happiness of the righteous is without end, nor that his covenant 
of grace will always remain, a conclusion that would forever blast 
the hopes of Christians and shroud in more than midnight darkness 
all the glories of the gospel." If in seven instances the word sig- 
nifying endless duration is applied to the future of the wicked, who 
dare say that the inspired penman wrote the word in some fifty- 
eight other passages with the clear and accepted meaning of unlim- 
ited duration, and left it seven times with the liberty to understand 
it in the very opposite sense ! By what authority can we translate 
it eternal, everlasting, unending, when applied to life and glory, 
Christ and the Holy Spirit, and God, and the condition of the saved 
in heaven, and give to it the meaning of limited duration vrhen 
applied to the future punishment of the ungodly ? Whatever mean- 
ing we put upon the word in the one case, we are bound to put in 
the other. If not, then we must conclude that all the statements 
concerning the place of torment contained in the Bible are merel\' 
Oriental hyperboles ; that they were merel\' intended as a merciful 


deterrent to the Jews in their low state of piety, culture and civili- 
zation, an adaptation to the hardness of their hearts, or a needful 
concession to a prevailing superstition !" 

To sum up, and here I adopt the conclusions arrived at by 
Moses Stuart of Andover, if I do not always use his language — 
who. after a searching scrutiny of the meaning of the words, both in 
Hebrew, the Septuagint, and New Testament Scriptures, applies 
his results to the questions of endless punishment. As future pun- 
ishment must belong to future time, so the word "aion," when 
spoken of in connection with punishment, must have a like mean- 
ing with that which it has, when applied to things belonging to a 
future world, and which are yet to take place. In such cases where 
glory and praise are ascribed to God for ever, or forever and ever, 
a definite period of time cannot be meant. When God is called 
eternal, and when the things of the heavenly world are spoken of, 
eternity in the proper sense of the word is intended. In such cases 
where " aion " and " aionios " are applied to the happiness of the 
righteous in another world, there can be no room to doubt that a 
happiness without end is intended. It follows then, that in the 
instances where "aion" is applied to the future punishment of the 
wicked, and "aionios" is applied to the same subject, the same 
meaning is intended. The laws of interpretation demand this. 
The words " aion " and " aionios " are applied sixty times in the 
New Testament to designate the continuance of the future happi- 
ness of the righteous and twelve times to designate the continuance 
ot the future misery of the wicked. By what principles of inter- 
preting language is it possible to avoid the conclusion that they 
have the same sense in both cases? If life eternal is promised on 
one side, and death eternal is promised on the other, is it not 
to be supposed that the word eternal, which qualifies life, is of equal 
force with the word eternal which qualifies death? If then the 
Scriptures have not asserted the endless punishment of the wicked, 
neither have they asserted the endless happiness of the righteous. 


The one is equally certain with the other. Both are laid in the 
same balance ; both must be tried by the same tests, and if we 
give up the one we must, to be consistent, give up the other also. 

" I have long searched," says Moses Stuart, " with anxious 
solicitude for a text in the Bible, which would even seem to favor 
the idea of a future probation. I cannot find it. If others have 
been more successful in their researches, let them show us the proof. 
When this shall be done in accordance with the simple laws of 
interpretation, and without the application of A PRIORI theology to 
the Bible, then I promise to renounce my feelings and views in 
regard to the whole subject before me. But till then, I must hold 
the endless punishment of the wicked, or give up the endless happi- 
ness of the righteous. Further, if Universalists are in the right, we 
who believe in a doctrine very different to theirs, are nevertheless, 
just as safe as they. We need not concern ourselves to examine 
whether we are in the right or wrong as to opinion, since there can 
be no difference in the result. But if we are in the right, and they 
mistake fundamentally the meaning of God's word, and mistake it 
through the spirit of unbelief, and through desire to live without 
that self control and self denial which the Gospel demands on pen- 
alty of everlasting death, then what is to be the end of all this ?" 

There are other considerations still in favor of the commonly 
received interpretation. We have already referred to the classic 
use of " aion " and " aionios," as the same as that in the New Tes- 
tament. On referring to such writers as Aristotle, we find the 
words always used as indicating unending duration, whether as 
applied to eternal punishment or eternal happiness. But even sup- 
posing that the word everlasting should occasionally be found de- 
noting a period less than absolute eternity, such as where the 
inspired and profane writers speak of " the everlasting hills," in such 
instances the word when applied to future time, always denotes the 
longest duration of which the subject is capable. "Everlasting 
hills " are those which shall continue to the end of the world. " He 


shall serve forever," means during the longest period of which he is 
capable. Hannah devoted Samuel to the Lord "forever" (ist 
Samuel i. 22), that is, he was never to return to private life. " An 
ordinance for ever," is one which lasts through the longest possible 
time — the whole dispensation, of which it was a part. Such cases, 
which are after all but few in number, do not contravene in spirit 
the numerous instances in which the word signifies absolute eter- 
nity, which is indeed the original meaning of the term. 

It is also worthy of remark, in the settlement of such an impor- 
tant doctrine, that all Christian Churches, since the Apostolic age, 
have understood the Bible to* teach the everlasting punishment of 
the wicked. Why is this ? Not because such a doctrine is it all 
congenial to the human mind, but because it is found in a divine 
revelation it cannot be rejected. If we acknowledge the Bible to 
be from God, it must be accepted in its entirety, promises of pardon 
and threatenings of vengeance alike. Nor can we account for the 
almost universal acceptance of the doctrine by saying that it was 
imposed upon the Christian world by the authority of the Church, 
for it was received as true long before any sect had presumed to 
dictate what truths should be believed, and it continued to be ac- 
cepted after the Reformation, when the authority of the Church in 
matters of faith and practice was rejected, and the Scriptures alone 
recognized as the only infallible guide. 

It is often asserted that the strong, vigorous thinkers of the day 
are all agreed in denouncing the dogma of endless punishment ; 
that the conception of a God who should condemn immortal beings 
to eternal misery is now left to the non-progressive, uncultured and 
violent demagogues and revivalists, who have neither the ability 
nor the courage to examine the teachings of the word of God. Is 
it so ? It is freely admitted that the doctrine of Universalism has 
always had defenders. Even during the dark ages and among 
schoolmen such names as Scotus Erigena and the Abbot Raynaldus 
are found supporting the theory. But the great mass of scholars of 


that period, such as Thomas Aquinas, opposed it strenuously, not 
only on account of its unscriptural character, but also because it 
was mixed up with Socinianism and free-thinking of every shade 
of opinion. At the present day comparatively few eminent men, 
either in Great Britain or in America, hold the doctrine, or if they 
do, they carefully conceal their belief 

Charles Kingsley, who has been reckoned among the number 
who held and taught the doctrine of Universalism, in his late years 
not only modified his views, but preached the reasonableness and 
probability of future punishment. He hardly ever indeed preached 
Restorationism to his church at Eversley. Any one reading his 
"Village Sermons" would conclude that he taught no other doc- 
trine to sinners than that of eternal punishment and retribution, and 
that he preached the doctrine with great plainness and energy. 
Repudiating the idea of material bodily torture, he was a stout up- 
holder of the Athanasian creed, which in his early manhood he had 
repudiated with intense dislike. The change in his views arose 
from a deepening sense of man's moral individuality and accounta- 
bility to his Maker: "of his power to make or mar his fortunes, 
to determine his own future, and mould his own destiny, in this 
world and the world to come." Hence he wrote to the Guardian 
newspaper, in a letter explaining his later views as to the Athan- 
asian creed, these words : " I do not deny endless punishment. On 
the contrary, I believe it is possible for me and other Christian men, 
by loss of God's grace, to commit sins against light and knowledge, 
which would plunge us into endless abysses of probably increasing 
sin, and therefore, of probably increasing and endless punishment." 

Frederick Robertson of Brighton, a man of exquisitely tender 
and sensitive soul, who was accused of the greatest latitudinarian- 
ism, says : " My only difficulty is, how net to believe in everlasting 
punishment." Speaking of the man who having sown to the flesh, 
shall of the flesh reap corruption, he says : " This is ruin of soul. 
He shall reap the harvest of disappointment, of bitter useless re- 


morse. He shall have the worm that gnaws, and the fire that is 
not quenched. He shall reap the fruit of long indulged desires, 
which has become tyrannous at last, and constitute him his own 
tormentor. His harvest is a soul in flames, and the tongue that no 
drop can cool. Passions that burn, and appetites that crave, when 
the power of enjoyment is gone." 

Norman McLeod says : " If a new period of probation be pos- 
sible for those whose lives as a whole are expressed, in having 
'preferred darkness to light,' no hint of such is given by Him who 
is to be the judge, but on the contrary, warnings and declarations 
are given, implying the reverse. And though Scripture were silent 
altogether, or even though it stated that new opportunities would 
be afforded, where is the hope from experience that those in the 
future would have a different result from those in the past ?" Such 
men certainly are not to be classed with those who say : 

" The gloomy caverns, and the burning lakes, 
And all the vain infernal trumpery, 
They neither are nor were, nor e'er can be." 

Even Henry Ward Beecher, whose theological creed is certainly 
expansive enough to suit the tastes of the most revolutionary, and 
who never misses an opportunity of attacking the commonly ac- 
cepted doctrine of eternal punishment (in language unparalleled for 
severity and biting invective), never advocates Universalism, as a 
certain belief In his sermon entitled, "The background of mystery," 
he goes no further than express a strong hope that in some way 
wicked men shall at last regain lost purity. His words are these : 
" The distinction between right and wrong is as eternal as God 
himself The relation between sin and retribution belongs not to 
the temporal condition of things , it inheres in the divine constitu- 
tion, and is for eternity. The prospect for any man who goes out 
of this life, resolute in sin, may well make him tremble for himself 
and may well make us tremble for him." The same is also true in 


regard to recent declarations of belief made by candidates for ordi- 
nation or installation in New England Congregational churches, 
where if anywhere a man with impunity might hold such a doctrine 
without fear of discipline. At a recent council held in the city of 
Boston, for the examination of a minister, while many of the older 
and more conservative members regretted indefiniteness of expres- 
sion, and uncertainty as to the state after death, no avowal of Uni- 
versalism was made. These are the statements referred to : 

" On the dark and difficult topic of retribution a few things are 
clear to me. These I will state as plainly and as frankly as I can. 
They relate to the nature of retribution, to the duration of it, to a 
possible crisis in sinful experience, and to my own mental attitude 
with reference to the whole subject. 

' First — What is the nature of the divine retributions? The 
nature of sin makes this evident. Sin consists in wrong spiritual 
relations. It is a denial of the claims of God and of man upon the 
individual spirit. It is practical atheism and inhumanity. It is 
moral disorder. It is a bad spiritual state, and the consciousness which 
accompanies that state is its punishment. Sin and punishment are 
linked together as cause and effect. The cause is a moral cause, 
the effect is a moral effect. The retributions of God are therefore 
moral retributions. The words eternal life and eternal punishment, 
I am fully persuaded, refer primarily to a certain kind, to a certain 
quality of being. 

" But the question of duration cannot be suppressed. There- 
fore, the next point to be met is, whether eternal punishment is also 
endless. I answer without reservation, that it may be so. A soul 
may sin forever, and so may be in a state of moral death forever. 
This I maintain as a clear possibility. It is a possibility to which 
all sinners arc liable. They become more and more liable to it the 
longer they persist in wrong-doing. I assert, then, the possibility 
of everlasting punishment as a consequence of the possibility of 
everlasting sin. Whether there will be, as a matter of fact, any 


who sin forever, whether the possibiHty will be converted into a 
reality, is a question which I have no means of deciding. The one 
I can answer, the other I can not. 

" I hold the same view in reference to the possibility of a crisis 
in the sinner's experience. If there is such a thing as the possible 
possession of an assured Christian character, the attainment of a 
fixed position in the divine righteousness, it is clear to me that there 
must be also a limit in the sinner's experience beyond which he 
will remain steadfast in sin. This would be my conception of the 
final judgment. Moral life and moral death declare themselves in 
their final form. The processes of moral life and moral death are 
thus summed up and set forth. 

" To the question, whether this world is the only place where 
human beings can leave unrighteousness for righteousness, the fel- 
lowship of devils for the fellowship of God and his Son, I can give 
no answer whatever. I do not know enough about the world to 
come to decide whether those who are impenitent at death remain 
so forever, or ultimately, through the discipline of woe, become par- 
takers of Christ's life. I will say, however, that where men have 
steadfastly resisted light here, we have no reason to believe that 
they will not resist there ; that in view of our ignorance, all men 
should be led to feel that the question of eternal life and eternal 
death, in point of duration, no less than in quality of being, may be 
forever settled by the choice of the present hour. 

To the further question, as to what influence the fact of physical 
death may have upon the destiny of the sinful soul, I return no 
answer. It may have much. It may have none at all." 

Professor F. D. Maurice of England, who is frequently quoted 
as an opponent of the " Doctrine of Eternal Punishment," as ex- 
cluding the notion of DURATION from the word " Eternal," and as 
maintaining that the three-score years and ten of man's life, do not 
absolutely limit the compassion of the Father of spirits, only gives 
a very half-hearted AGNOSTIC concurrence in Universalism. In 


order to show that he did not hold such a theory, nor that of Anni- 
hilationism, but merely that God's punishments of evil are both 
retributive and reformatory, and that after death it was only possi- 
ble for souls under punishment to turn from darkness to light, and 
from death to life, — he published the following statement of his 
views : 

" My duty I feel is this : 

1. To assert that which I know, that which God has revealed, 
His absolute universal love in all possible ways, and without 

2. To tell myself and all men, that to know this love and to be 
moulded by it, is the blessing we are to seek. 

3. To say that this is eternal life. 

4. To say that the want of it is death. 

5. To say that if they believe in the Son of God, they have 
eternal life. 

6. To say that if they have not the Son of God, they have not 

7. Not to say who has the Son of God, because I do not know. 

8. Not to say how long any one may remain in eternal death, 
because I do not know. 

9. Not to say that all will be necessarily raised out of eternal 
death, because I do not know. 

10. Not to judge any before the time, or to judge other men 
at all because Christ has said, "judge not, that ye be not judged." 

1 1. Not to play with Scripture by quoting passages which have 
not the slightest connection with the subject, such as, " where the 
tree falleth it shall lie." 

12. Not to invent a scheme of purgatory, and so take upon 
myself the office of the Divine Judge. 

13. Not to deny God a right of using punishment at any time 
or any where for the reformation of His creatures. 


14. Not to contradict Christ's words : " These shall be beaten 
with few, these with many stripes," for the sake of maintaining a 
theory of the equality of sins. 

15. Not to think any punishment of God's so great as the 
saying, •' Let them alone." 

The Council of Queen's College, London, while not formulating 
any statement of the doctrines they condemned in the teachings 
of Professor Maurice, regarded his opinions and doubts as to cer- 
tain points of belief, on the punishment of the wicked and the final 
issues of the day of judgment, as of dangerous tendency, and 
calculated to unsettle the minds of the theological students. Mr. 
Gladstone, the Prime Minister of England, then made a proposal 
for an enquiry by competent theologians, as to how far the writings 
of Professor Maurice were conformable to, or at variance with, the 
formularies of the Church of England. This having been refused. 
Bishop Wilberforce submitted a formula to Professor Maurice, 
which was accepted by him without hesitation, unreservedly and 
entirely, and is as follows : 

I cannot but think that in contending for a truth, you have been 
led into an exaggeration of its proportions. Will you, then, suffer 
me to try whether I can aid you to make that truth more plain ? 

I. What, then, I understand to be charged against you is this : 
That you teach that the revelation of God's love given to us in the 
Gospel is incompatible with His permitting any of the creatures 
He has loved, to be consigned to never ending torment, and that 
you therefore do, with more or less clearness, revive the old doctrine 
of the Universalists, that after some unknown period of torments, 
all such must be restored. Now I do not understand you to intend 
to advocate any such views. What I do understand you to say is 
this : That to represent God as revenging upon His creatures, by 
<:orments through never ending extensions of time, their sinful acts 
committed here, is (i) unwarrantably to transfer to the eternal world 


the conditions of this world ; and that eternity is not time pro- 
longed, but rather time abolished, and that it is therefore, logically 
incorrect to substitute in the Scriptural proposition for " eternal 
death" "punishment extended through a never-ending duration of 
time ;" and (2) as this is unwarranted, so it is dangerous : (a) be- 
cause by transferring our earthly notions of such prolonged venge- 
ance to God, it misrepresents His character ; (b) because as men 
recoil from applying to themselves or others, such a sentence, it 
leads to the introduction of unwarranted palliatives which practi- 
cally explain away the true evil, and fatal consequences of sin. 
What I understand you to mean affirmatively to teach is this : 

(a) That the happiness of the creature consists in his will being 
brought into harmony with the will of God. (b) That we are here 
under a Divine system, in which God, through the Mediator and by 
the Spirit, acts on the will of the creature to bring it into harmony 
with His own will, (c) That we see in this world the creature, in 
defiance of the love of his Creator, able to resist His merciful will, 
and to harden himself in opposition to it, and that misery in body 
and soul is the result of that opposition, (d) That it is revealed to 
us that our state in this world is, so to speak, the seminal prin- 
ciple of what it is to be in its full development in that world which 
is to come, and that therefore a will hardened against His must be 
the extremest misery to the creature both in body and soul ; that 
this hardened separation from God, with its consequent torments, 
is the ' death eternal ' spoken of in Scripture — the lake of fire, 
' where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched,' &c., of 
which we know no limits, and from which we know of no escape ; 
concerni-ng which, therefore, it is unsafe to dogmatize as if it was 
subject to earthly conditions ; and that in any contemplation of its 
horrors we must always contemplate God's exceeding tove, and 
remember that He is striving through the Gospel to deliver every 
sinner from it, who against his own sin will appeal to Him through 
Christ, (e) Finally, that to conclude that after a certain period of 


such sufTerIng God's vengeance would be satisfied and the lost for- 
given future suffering, would be one phase of the error against which 
you write, 'and therefore as remote as possible from your teaching." 

These quotations will serve to show how very uncertain and 
unsatisfactory arc the views of that class of theologians, who are 
undecided regarding this most important doctrine. There is indeed 
no halting place between the orthodox doctrine of Eternal Punish- 
ment, and that of unlimited and unconditional Universalism. 

Nor can we conclude that Universalism is spreading, because 
occasionally individual opinions of ministers in rigidly orthodox 
churches, conflict with the confessions they have subscribed. The 
very infrequency of such instances gives the men a notoriety alto- 
gether out of proportion to their importance and opinions. Neither 
Universalist or Unitarian Churches are making any progress in 
Christendom, despite of the boastful assertions of free thinkers. 

An American Unitarian clergyman, who lately passed over to 
the Episcopal pulpit, says Unitarianism was a constant disappoint- 
ment to him. He labored to build up " decaying and almost hope- 
less churches," but everywhere had seen " the Unitarian cause 
steadily declining. Of fifteen churches in the New York and 
Hudson River conferences, six had died outright during the past 
twelve years ; no new ones had been planted ; and those remain- 
ing, with three or four exceptions, are just alive and that is all. 
The same is true all over America, and England too. This was 
what caused me to turn my studies and thoughts in the direction 
of the older Churches and faith." 

The editor of a well known religious monthly not long ago, 
sent the following questions to leading clergymen in the United 
States and Great Britain, (i) Do you find among the laity an 
increasing skepticism touching the doctrine of eternal punishment ? 
(2) Do you find that this skepticism makes it more difficult to 
awaken and sustain an interest in religion among the masses? 
Among the replies sent we select the following : 

372 future punishment. 

Rev'd C. H. Spurgeon : 

" I cannot but believe that doubts upon endless punishment aid, 
with other things, to render men less concerned about their future 
state ; but I conceive that, if they were not hardened by this, they 
would come under some other form of deadening influence. Where 
the Spirit of God works upon men's hearts with almighty power, 
they are awakened, and come to Jesus ; but apart from this, they 
slumber upon one pillow or another. I am amazed that, after the 
continual efforts to introduce modern views, so very few of our 
earnest Christian people have been removed from the old faith. 
I know some who embraced the new views, but soon left them, as 
they found themselves hindered in their work among the degraded. 
If some men were as anxious to save souls as they are to make us 
think lightly of their ruin, it would be better for themselves." 

Rev'd Dr. Sprecher, San Francisco : 

" There is a change taking place in the form in which the doc- 
trine of eternal punishment is held. There is no doubt a growing 
belief among the laity in a probation after death for some, but also 
a growing conviction that there is such a thing as being "guilty of 
an eternal sin," and that eternal punishment will accompany eternal 
sin as its natural and necessary consequence. Let the preacher 
take for his text before a popular assembly those words of our 
Saviour, regarding everlasting punishment, and he will find that no 
truth of Christianity meets with more general assent and conviction. 
I cannot perceive that it is more difficult to awaken and sustain 
religious interest among the masses than in former years. Here in 
California it is generally remarked that the churches are attended 
better, and the additions on profession of faith are larger within the 
last five or six years than ever before in the history of the State. 
The membership of our churches is increasing much more rapidly 
than the population. 

" Twenty years ago, there was but one church member to every 
one hundred and twenty-five of the population ; now there is one 


Protestant church member to every twenty-nine of the population. 
Membership in our Protestant churches has increased in the last 
twenty years four times as fast as the population. Our mission 
schools are more flourishing every year, and I have never known 
so many laymen, in proportion to church membership, engaged in 
Christian work. There is a change in the tone or manifestations 
of religious interest among the masses. We cannot produce the 
old-time excitements, but the results in conversions and additions 
to our churches are, at least in California, greater than ever. 

Rev'd Dr. Wm. Taylor, Broadway Tabernacle, New York : 
" Among the laymen with whom I have had the privilege of 
coming into contact, I have not found skepticism on the doctrine 
of everlasting punishment. There is a change among many in the 
way in which the doctrine is held, as compared with the manner in 
which it was taught and maintained in former generations. Thus, 
it is now generally recognized that the " fire " is a material figure 
of a spiritual reality, and more prominence is given to the idea of 
natural consequences than to that of judicial infliction in the matter 
of the punishment. But I do not meet with many who deny or 
disbelieve the doctrine. Personally, I find few subjects as to which 
my people are more responsive than the duty of working for the 
evangelization of the occupants of our tenement houses, the educa- 
tion and christianization of the freedmen, and the making of pro- 
vision for the religious instruction of the immigrants who are filling 
up so rapidly our Western States and Territories," 
Rev'd Dr. Moses Hoge, Richmond, Virginia : 
" At one time there were indications of a growing incredulity 
among our people as to the truth of the doctrine in question. This 
was occasioned by the publication of the sermons of some celebra- 
ted divines in England and the United States, and by certain maga- 
zine articles assailing the doctrine of eternal punishment in an 
incisive and popular manner. But these were successfully answered, 
and the tendency "to increasing skepticism" very evidently checked, 


if not arrested. There is generally a drift in public sentiment in 
that direction ; but just now there arc indications of a reaction 
against the tendency in question. The attempt has frequently been 
made to establish a Universalist Church in Richmond, but it has 
always failed. The irreligion of our people is rather the irreligion 
of inconsideration, or of mere worldliness, than of infidelity, or of 
any defined system of unbelief" 

Rev'd Dr. Robert Paterson, San Francisco : 

" I do not observe an increase of skepticism among the laity of 
my acquaintance touching the doctrine of eternal punishment ; nor 
do I believe that there is here, in San Francisco, a widespread skep- 
ticism upon the subject among the masses. I have two reasons for 
this belief: The first is, the decay of the Unitarian and Universalist 
congregations here and in Oakland. One has been obliged to cur- 
tail its expenses ; another was not long ago sold for debt ; and none 
are crowded. The most unpolished Irish priest who lifts a wooden 
crucifix before his hearers on Good Friday will have a larger audi- 
ence than the most cultured Universalist preacher. Or, if you judge 
by the common talk of the crowds along the wharves, and at the 
depots, you will not be allowed to forget the existence of hell and 
damnation. My second reason for asserting that the masses are 
not Universalists is, that the most popular public speakers who visit 
this coast, are those whose preaching is full of warnings to flee from 
the wrath to come." 

Rev'd Dr. B. M. Palmer, New Orleans : 

" I do not find speculative doubts as to the eternal duration of 
future punishment cherished to any extent. The sense of justice 
in the human soul, answering to the justice that is in God, demands 
the vindication of the divine law through the infliction of the pen- 
alty. There would be little theoretic diflficulty on this subject 
among the masses if they were only left undisturbed b}- the unli- 
censed speculations of flighty theologians. Some of these, like 
John Foster, through a morbid sentiment, shrink from the contem- 


plation of what is unspeakably painful ,; others seek personal popu- 
larity, by adjusting religion to the weaknesses and vices of men ; 
whilst others still are unconsciously led, by over- refinements of 
criticism, to eliminate from the Scriptures what has always been 
deemed essential to the integrity of the Christian faith. But as 
respects the masses of men, their robust morality easily accepts the 
penalty as a necessary feature of the law. 

" There is, however, great practical insensibility to this awful 
truth, even where little speculative denial of it exists. It is a part 
of the religion which men are seeking to construct for themselves 
to hope that the imperfection of their works will be overlooked 
through the clemency of the Judge ; and that some mode of deliv- 
erance will be discovered at the last, by which to escape the full 
pressure of divine wrath. This latent unbelief of the carnal heart 
is not the skepticism named in these questions. It prevaricates 
with truth, rather than openly denies it. It is more the expression 
of dread than the consciousness of security. It is the indulgence 
of a vague and aimless hope, rather than a well-reasoned and 
clearly formulated conviction of the judgment. Fearful as this 
insensibility to the evil of sin may be, it does not so completely 
debauch the conscience as the consolidated skepticism which over- 
turns all law and explodes the very conception of justice." 

These extracts serve to show that — " The old theological beliefs 
are not crumbling around us," notwithstanding the insidious and 
unscrupulous efforts of a few, who seek to undermine every article 
of faith and give a new reading to the word of God. In none of 
the leading denominations is there any relaxing of creeds, nor do 
their representative men give forth an uncertain sound. The 
preaching of the present day may have changed somewhat in man- 
ner and style compared with that of the seventeenth century, but 
the old doctrines of Scripture are held with a no less tenacious 
grasp. Charles Spurgeon, whose words we have already quoted — • 
than whom no living man, since the days of the Apostles, has been 


seized more fully with the truth of God — may be regarded as voic- 
ing the opinions of the vast majority of Christians, when he says in 
his own frank, impassioned, and vigorous Anglo Saxon : " As for 
me, I believe in the colossal ; a need as deep as hell, and a grace 
high as heaven. I believe in a pit that is bottomless, and a heaven 
that is topless. I believe in an infinite God, and an infinite atone- 
ment, infinite love and mercy ; an everlasting covenant ordered 
in all things and sure, of which the substance and reality is an 
infinite Christ." 

It now only remains, that we should summarize the arguments 
which have been advanced, and that are generally held in behalf of 
the orthodox view, as against Universal ism. 

The impression produced upon the mind by a candid perusal 
of the Scriptures, is that the punishment of the wicked is eternal. 

Belief in endless punishment corresponds with belief in the 
immortality of the soul. 

The Church in all ages has accepted the doctrine. 

The best scholarship of every age and land, has asserted end- 
less punishment to be the true teachings of the w^ord of God. 

Many who deny the authority cf the New Testament on other 
points, affirm the eternity of future punishment. 

The eternity of future punishment corresponds with the pain- 
ful effects of sin in the present life. Crimes and sins of brief dura- 
tion leave consequences for life. Thoughtless acts involve grave 
disasters. The wrong doer often would not retrieve himself if he 
could. The longer he continues, the surer is the tendency to fix- 
edness of character, until all moral feeling becomes extinct. Evil 
passions carry in themselves the germs of wickedness, and attain 
greater strength, until change of disposition is hopeless. 

The doctrine is in harmony with all the teachings of the word 
of God. It justifies the fact and the necessity of a revelation, and 
shows the need of divine interposition to sav^e man from eternal 


misery. It accords with the revealed character of God, as holy and 
hating sin, while willing on condition of repentance, to grant a full 
and free pardon. It accords with the scriptural view of the awful 
nature of sin, as an evil of immeasurable magnitude, malignity and 
persistency. It accords with the extraordinary character of the 
remedy proposed — atonement through the death of the Lord Jesus 

By diminishing the evil of man's fallen state, and denying the 
punishment due to sin, we diminish the remedy. 

The Scriptures offer saving agencies only for this life. 

The offers of salvation here are made on conditions, which ex- 
clude hope, if rejected. 

The danger of absolute loss under present means of grace is 
constantly implied and asserted. 

There is no declaration in Scripture of the limited duration of 
future punishment. 

The small minority of Christendom who deny that the doctrine 
of Eternal Punishment is in the New Testament are in irreconcilable 
conflict what to find in its place. One class find (i) "age long" 
punishment ; another (2) immediate blessedness ; another (3) utter 
extinction ; another (4) punishment outside of time, wholly "drop- 
ping the idea of duration ;" and another (5) and the latest class, pro- 
fess " utter ignorance," and find total darkness brooding over the 
subject, whether it be restitution, extinction, or everlasting pun- 

The difficulties of belief in endless punishment of sin are im- 
mensely less than those of unbelief. The doctrine is so obvious 
and pervasive in the scriptures, that the rejection of this one 
involves rejection of all the others. 

The following positive objections to Universalism are worthy 
ol mention : 

The Christian Church has with very great unanimity condemned 
the doctrine. 


It militates against the doctrine of the atonement, for if all men 
shall ultimately be saved, where the necessity for the sacrifice of 
God's own Son. 

It is directly opposed to divine justice, for if all are saved there 
is no difference between saint and sinner. 

If sinners in hell are to be restored, they must be dealt with as 
moral and responsible beings. They must have the Gospel preached 
to them and the offer of pardon revealed. If preached to, why not 
prayed for ? But Scripture teaches us that the lost are bevond the 
reach of prayer and the appeals of the Gospel. 

Any termination or abatement of the sufferings of the los^, 
supposes their sufferings to be of an expiatory kind. If liberated 
from punishment after a term of years, they must be considered to 
have had all the sufferings due their sins. 

If, as admitted by Universalists, suffering does not change the 
heart, it may be reasonably conceived that sufferings after death 
will but awaken a more deadly enormity against God. 

If the lost are still the objects of God's love, as they must be if 
he means to save them, is it just or right to subject them to ever- 
lasting suffering, or for a period that may be called so, before he 
brings them to repentance ? 

Finally, the doctrine of Universalism is inconsistent with itself 
for on the one hand it maintains that sin does not deserve eternal 
punishment, and therefore there was no need of a Redeemer to save 
sinners, as in the course of time they would come out by dischar- 
ging their own debt ; but on the other hand, it teaches that men 
are delivered from sin and hell by the death of Christ, which sup- 
poses that they could not be delivered without his mediation. These 
things are irreconcilable. Are sinners saved from hell, by the oper- 
ation of justice, or mercy? If the former, then the death of Christ 
was unnecessary, and the damned are saved without being under 
any obligation to Christ, and all men might have been saved in the 
same way. If the latter, then eternal punishment is consistent with 


justice and all the divine attributes. Is the reason why sinners arc 
released from hell, because they have satisfied justice by their suf- 
ferings, or because Christ has atoned for their sins ? Or again, 
does the sinner in hell suffer all the penalty threatened in the divine 
law, or is he released from that penalty by the atonement of Christ ? 
If the former, then certainly he is saved without dependence on 
Christ ; if the latter, how long must he have suffered, if a mediator 
had not interposed ? If only for some longer time, then Christ by 
his death, does no more than shorten the period of his punishment, 
which would have come to an end without a Mediator's interposition. 
We object then, to the doctrine of Universalism, not simply 
because we believe it to be utterly antagonistic to the teachings of 
God's word, but because we believe, that when carried out to its 
legitimate and logical results, it leads to utter rejection of all the 
fundamental doctrines of Christianity. If all men are to be saved, 
whence the need of atonement? Are the life, sufferings, and death 
of Christ a myth ? Are the New Testament accounts of the divine 
tragedy of Calvary allegorical ? Are the statements both of the 
Old and New Testament false, that without the shedding of blood 
and the remission of sins in the present life, a blessed immortality 
is impossible? Was Christ divine or human ? The Scriptures say 
divine — the Universalist says it matters not, for apart from the 
efficacy of atonement, all men at last equally share the honors of 
heaven. The sacrifice of Christ was not designed to save men 
from endless punishment, says the Universalist, nor were His suf- 
ferings in any sense expiatory. Each man must suffer in his own 
person for his sins. Christ endured ignominy and privation in 
behalf of mankind, and not in their stead. He labored and died 
tor us as one friend or brother should suffer for another, for our 
benefit, our spiritual improvement, our permanent happiness, but 
beyond this there was no saving efficacy in His death more than 
that of any other man. He was a martyr and nothing more. Uni- 
tarians who deny the divinity of Christ, join hands with Universa'- 


ists in such statements. Belsham and Priestly, noted Unitarians, 
say in their writings that the sufferings of the future life, however 
intense, or however permanent, will be effectual to purify the sinner 
from his moral stains, and qualify him for ultimate happiness. All 
men may therefore keep themselves perfectly easy about the mat- 
ter — that they will be' happy at last — since God has created us for 
happiness, and we need not fear misery. The only difference is 
that some will go to eternal happiness more directly than others. 
And when we find a noted Free-thinker in Boston, supplementing 
such views by saying : " I wish there were a God ; I wish I could 
find some evidence of his existence, but I cannot. The universe is 
not governed as I w^ould govern it, and it seems to me there is 
nothing upon the throne," is it too much to say that Universalism 
— unconsciously, perhaps, to many of its advocates, but not less 
really — leads to a denial of all that is worthy of the name of religion, 
and ends in blank infidelity and Materialism? Were such opinions 
to become general, what hope would there be for our world ? But 
they never can. As Benjamin Franklin once wrote to Thomas 
Paine, when he meditated the publication of an athiestic book, so 
we may remonstrate with propagators of such errors. " You will 
not succeed, so as to change the general sentiments of mankind on 
the subject of religion and the consequence of printing this piece 
will be mischief to you and no benefit to others. I would advise 
you therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger. If men are so 
wicked with religion, what would they do without it !" 

Those who greedily embrace Universalism as a rule, are not the 
truly pious, who endeavor to live in obedience to the gospel, but 
men of corrupt lives who seek indulgence of sin. A few apparently 
devout christians may favor the doctrine, and among Universalists 
there are found men of high moral character, but those who glory 
in the belief, that the righteous and the wicked shall alike enjoy 
eternal happiness, are the most profligate in every community. The 
influence of such a doctrine upon the mind, in times of strong temp- 


tation, can easily be conjectured, If there is no future punishment, 
or if hell is but a temporary resting place on the way to heaven, 
why should the vilest be restrained from indulgence in the greatest 
crimes ? " Convince men that there is no hell awaiting those who 
spend an earthly life in wrong-doing, and what legitimate results 
follow? Crush out of souls the forebodings of distant and certain 
accountability and punishment ; convert communities into the belief 
that the Scriptures mean the Valley of Hinnom when they speak 
of hell ; annihilate generally the emotions of fear as to the outcome 
of life that ever and anon rise like ghastly spectres in human souls, 
and the race, already desperately wicked under potent and manifold 
restraints, will give full license to the deadliest passions, that slum- 
ber like torpid serpents in human breasts." 

If, then, Universalism is not only unscriptural, but if such be its 
character and tendencies, should we not be more than ever con- 
firmed in the truth of God's word, which teaches : 

That there are two conditions of existence in another life. 
That one of them is a conscious state of unutterable joy, and 
that this state is endless ; and the other condition a state of unut- 
terable suffering, and that is endless. 

That there is as much reason to doubt the state of unutterable 
and endless joy as there is to doubt the state of unutterable and 
endless suffering. 

That the design of Christ in the work of his redemption is to 
recover those who are fearfully exposed to a state of unutterable 
and endless suffering, and to secure to them a state of unutterable 

That the state of unutterable and endless joy in the untried 
future will be entirely the result of a certain manner of living on 

That the state of unutterable and endless suffering in the untried 
future will be entirely the result of a certain manner of living on 


That the present Hfc is of God the only state of probation, and 
the destiny of each person is then fc>rever fixed of him. 

In closing this brief review of the prevalent theories concerning 
a future state, I have but two remarks to make. If we test Uni- 
versalism and kindred faiths, by the number of their adherents and 
their actual results, there is nothing to cause alarm among those 
who hold fast to the old doctrines of Scripture. Although Univer- 
salism appeals to much in human nature, that eagerly grasps at the 
possibilty of escape from the consequences of sin, there are but few 
who confidentially and unhesitatingly accept it as a satisfactory 
ground of trust. Its growth has been marvellously slow, compared 
with that of other systems of religion, whose creeds are regarded 
as far more severe and uncongenial to the mass of men. If again, 
we test it by what it does for the amelioration of the present wrongs 
and the general good of society at large, the actual results will be 
found meagre and unimportant compared with that of the orthodox 
churches. The benevolent and charitable institutions of this land 
and the United States, depend largely, if not almost exclusively, 
for their support upon the members of evangelical churches, while 
as regards the christianizing of the world, universalists, and such as 
hold similar views, take little interest in, have no sympathy with, 
and do nothing towards the spread of Gospel truth. Nor is this 
surprising, for a religion that teaches that all men will eventually 
be saved, takes away all stimulus to bring men out of a state of 
condemnation into that of pardon in the present world. Many of 
the members of such churches undoubtedly do engage in deeds of 
charity and missions of mercy, and give for the extension of the 
truth, but not so much because of, as in despite of their creed. 

Those who have to any extent been unsettled in their con- 
victions, as to the certainty of future and endless punishment by 
the teachings of Universalism and Rationalism, ought seriously to 
ask themselves, why they are so ready to exchange what they have 
so long regarded as the truth, for what is at the best but a hope. 


Is not a present heaven more attractive than one gained after u 
long period of pain and purification ? But even this is not merely 
uncertain, but as we have seen, most improbable. Forgiveness may 
be had now. God makes offer of it. He welcomes the prodigal 
sinner back to the home he has forsaken, and the love he has des- 
pised. Now is the accepted time : Now is the day of salvation. 

"Come home ! come home ! 
You are weary at heart. 
For the way has been dark 
And so lonely and wild. 
Come home ! come home ! 
From the sorrow and blame, 
From the sin and the shame. 

And the tempter that smiled. 
O Prodigal child. 
Come home, oh, come home." 

" Died with a straw in his hand," is the heading of a paragraph 
in one of our religious monthlies, when describing the sad fate of a 
poor man, who had fallen over a steep embankment, near a railway 
station in England. In one hand there was a straw, which he had 
evidently grasped as he fell, in his last and vain endeavor to save 
himself. It was only a straw, and was of no avail. There he lay 
dead, " with a straw in his hand." How strikingly illustrative of 
the tens of thousands, who are clinging to some false hope of res- 
toration to God's favor after death ; holding on tenaciously to the 
negative guesses of Purgatory, Probationism, Annihilationism and 
Universalism, instead of at once accepting the offer of pardon, and 
resting securely upon the Rock of Ages. To err on such an im- 
portant question, as to the condition of the soul beyond the grave, 
is dangerous. If Universalists are right in the belief that all men 
will at once or eventually be saved, those who deny the doctrine 
lose nothing ; for whatever becomes of the wicked, the dead in 
Christ are certain of salvation and eternal happiness. But if Uni- 
versalism is not true, what of those who make it the foundation of 


their hope? If the misery of impenitent sinners is eternal, how 
g^reat their surprise and how inexpressible their loss ! 

It is quite possible to awake too late to a knowledge of our 
future condition, and anticipate the remorse of eternity while in the 
body. Tallyrand, the prince of French diplomatists, long denied 
the doctrine of deathless retribution as the result of a life of sin, but 
as he confronted death, he said to his friend Louis Philippe, " Sire, 
I suffer already the pangs of the damned." Francis Newport, the 
brilliant English infidel of the seventeenth century, realized, when 
too late, the truth of God's word as to the endlessness of future pun- 
ishment, and in his last illness cried out, "Oh ! that I was to lie on 
the fire that never is quenched a thousand years to purchase the 
favor of God, and be reconciled to him again ! But it is a fruitless 
wish. Millions of millions of years will bring me no nearer to the 
end of my torture than one poor hour." Voltaire, the Goliath of 
French infidels, as he has been called, laughed to scorn the idea of 
punishment after death. But at last remorse seized him, and turn- 
ing to Dr. Trochin, who stood by his bedside, he said, " I shall go 
to hell, Sir, and you will go with me." These sad utterances, which 
might be indefinitely multiplied, show how effectually the greatest 
scoffers are abandoned to despair, and find no comfort in the hope- 
less teachings of Universalism when face to face with the King of 
Terrors. In the well-known lines of the Paraphrase : 

"When, like the whirlwind o'er the deep, 
Comes desolation's blast ; 
Praj^ers then extorted shall be vain, 
The hour of mercy past." 









In the Light of General Christian Doctrine. 

't'jM&d\ HE theories of Future Punishment which have lately 

f-^l^-iwrf 3 attracted so much attention are ultimately to be judged 

\,^/iil^>i by Scripture in its direct utterances on the question. 

^^^^^^^•^ The topic is confessedly so high and wide-reaching 

''^Wi that no independent light of reason can satisfactorily settle 


^"^^ the points that arise under it, and only the clear expression 

of the mind of God brought home to the minds of Christians by 
fair interpretation can be expected to give such rest as is attainable 
in such a matter. I, for one, am persuaded that the direct testi- 
monies of Scripture are sufficient to settle these points as they have 
been generally held in our received theology ; and whatever diffi- 
culties may surround these conclusions, I desire to leave them «•''"'" 
the Judge of all the earth, who will do right. But in addition to 
the direct testimonies of Scripture on these points, there is that 
indirect but most important testimony of Scripture which lies in 
the texture of Christian theology as a whole, and which is called 
by theologians the Analogy of Faith. The doctrines of Scripture 
arc not insulated but symmetrical ; and the soundness of our con- 
clusions as to each in detail is to be tested by its harmony with all 
the rest. It is in this light that I shall endeavor to raise and to 
examine this question, so as to inquire how far Restorationism 
agrees with the Bible Theology as a whole. 


The theory of Restoration, logically, ought to include all fallen 
moral beings, but those who hold it, in many cases, hesitate to fol- 
low it to this extreme, so that it might be asked of me first to dis- 
cuss human Restoration, and then to remark upon Restoration in 
its widest possible aspect. I find it, however, beyond my power to 
separate the two questions ; but I shall endeavor to respect, as far 
as may be, the actual differences of position, while tracing logical 
consequences to their limit. I shall consider Restoration not only 
in the light of the doctrine of sin, and that also of atonement, but 
in the light of the doctrines of grace and free-will, and those of the 
Church and the means of salvation. 

I. Taking together the doctrines of Sin and of Atonement, I 
think it might be conceded, that if Scripture distinctly connected 
the alleged prospect of recovery after death or judgment, with a 
provision for full expiation, and that provision, the atonement of 
Christ ; and if there were nothing of hope cherished by Restora- 
tionists, and on general restoration principles, where atonement did 
not accompany it, then whatever difficulty or impossibility lay in 
their making good their particular proof-texts, there were nothing 
in the general doctrines of sin or of atonement to bar their theories. 
For Restorationism does not, like Annihilationism, profess to be 
an exhaustion of penalty by the creature, which then ceases. It 
professes to be a return to God in faith and submission, which 
avails, after the commonly-received day of grace is past, by virtue 
of the Saviour's yet unexhausted death and sacrifice. I cannot at 
all accept the proof-texts which the Restorationists allege, nor set 
aside the opposite. I only grant here, that there is not the same 
collision with the doctrine of sin and of atonement in their general 
aspects, as on the Annihilation system ; and if human recovery 
could be looked at by itself — however, as I think, excluded by light 
of revelation bearing on the matter — that recovery as based upon 
expiation would not subvert the general doctrine of sin and of sacri- 
fice. But the case is, I think, entirely changed, when human rccov- 


ery is seen in relation to the fallen angels and their destiny. The 
doctrine of Restoration so tends to include them ; their recovery is 
resisted with such difficulty by those who hold the doctrine in any 
form ; and so many of the pressing motives drawn from the alleged 
character of God, and the necessity of final unity in the universe, 
urge with redoubled force when human restoration is granted, that 
it is hardly, if at all, possible to consider the doctrine of sin and 
atonement as restricted to man's ultimate salvation. But where is 
the scheme of Christian theology that connects the Bible remedy 
for sin with the fallen angels ? It lies not only outside of particu- 
lar texts, but of the whole of Scripture and of the theology founded 
upon it : insomuch that if the salvation of higher fallen beings is 
believed in, it is really on the basis of exhaustion of penalty, or on 
other grounds unknown or adverse to Scripture ; and this not only 
involves the schemes of restorationism that admit this consequence, 
but those even that conceal or reject it, in the greatest difficulties ; 
for the restoration of fallen angels is either rejected against the 
genius of the system, or the atonement of Christ is accepted merely 
as one of two equal alternatives in restoring to God. I hold, there- 
fore, the tendencies of the restoration scheme in the actual circum- 
stances of the case, to be highly unfavorable to strict views of the 
demerit of sin and of the need of atonement ; and my fear is, that 
sincere reverence for these positions, such as may still linger in those 
who have entered upon this new path, must more and more encoun- 
ter subversive influences before which it will, ere long, vanish away. 
2. When we advance from Sin and x^tonementto Free-will and 
Grace, and test the theories of Restoration by these doctrines, the 
issue does not seem more hopeful. Where free-will predominates 
in Christian theology, there may seem to all eternity the abstract 
possibility of return in the inherent power of the will. But it is to 
be remembered that according to one section of theologians who 
belong to this school, evil has entered by free-will, in spite of every 
effort of God to exclude it, while still more of them hold, that it has 


continued in spite of every effort, not destructive of the will, to 
recover from it ; and hence anything like a scheme of restoration, 
other than partial, and entirely dependent for its decisive impulse 
on the will of the sinful creature, is not to be contended for. It 
seems also very hard on this high doctrine of inalienable self- 
determining will to exclude the view of Origen, as to the equal 
power of falling from future blessedness, so as to balance recovery, 
however far it might go. Let it be added, that the reliance some- 
times expressed upon the influences connected with the solemn 
scenes of the life to come, is hardly borne out by the experiences of 
earth, in so far as they approach in impressiveness to those that lie 
behind the veil : and here again the case of the fallen angels comes 
in to check any such confidence, since no series of conversions have 
from age to age marked their history, though passed amidst the 
light of the world to us unknown, such as the theories of restoration 
project into the future, if not in their instance, in that of other 
moral beings, who at length not only believe and tremble, but be- 
lieve and repent. It cannot, I think, but be felt, that so extraordi- 
nary a power of free-will, exerted after the utmost hardening, and 
even, to be logically complete, taking in the fallen spirits them- 
selves, is really a discord even in those schemes which exalt the 
element of freedom rather than of grace, in so far as they still hold 
to serious and earnest Christian theology. 

If now, we turn to that type of Christian theology which exalts 
grace, and to which not only Calvinists but a multitude of Arme- 
nians, who hold in spirit with them are attached, we find, no doubt, 
a power in the abstract, which, so far as we see, could work changes ; 
but then on this ground the first principles of a large school of 
Restorationists must be wholly given up, and others so greatly 
modified as practically to be surrendered. The adherents of grace 
and the expectants of its exercise, with one consent, hold that the 
sinful creature has forfeited all claim, that his sentence, however 
dread, is just, and that he has no right whatever to ask any remis- 


sion or transition by inward saving operations from one state to 
another. To demand sovereign influence, as so many Restoration- 
ists do, as an unpaid debt, as something without which God would 
be unrighteous and cruel, is to forget the ground of gracious deal- 
ing to which professedly they have come over ; and if it were 
granted it would make the saved after judgment differ from the 
saved in time, in tracing their salvation to something else than free 
and absolute mercy. The moment that the idea of grace in the 
full sense is realized, there is room for limitation of times and op- 
portunities ; and though no theologian of this school holds that God 
is arbitrary, or suffers a soul to be lost where His love, acting in 
liarmony with righteousness and wisdom, could save it, yet the path 
of His love and grace is no longer a question for mere abstract 
power to decide, but must be decided by the whole of God's char- 
acter ; and the issue, though it be not universal salvation in the 
end, or an ever-recurring salvation, irrespective of a day of grace, 
must be adored and acquiesced in, however mysterious, as giving 
the largest scope to God's saving attributes, and to the sinner's co- 
operation in any availing sense, that was rationally possible. Those 
who believe in grace, believe that God saves to the uttermost, though 
that uttermost be not absolute. There is no heartless limitation or 
arrest in their creed, as is sometimes unjustly charged. But thi.t 
naked and unconditioned universality which Restorationists assert 
to be the only form that grace can assume, is illogically urged. For 
the idea of grace throws the matter back ujjon God Himself, and 
what His arbitrament and consequent working in a case so peculiar 
and unexampled may be, we know far too little of the history and 
meaning of evil in the universe to affirm, and ought rather to say, 
" It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth unto Him good." 

3. The only other topics in theology, whereby it is here proposed 
to test the Restorationist scheme, are those of the Church and the 
Means of Salvation. So far as restoration, expected either before 
the judgment or after it, is concerned, there seems a very wide sev- 


erance between it and any such agencies as the Church is consti- 
tuted and upheld in order to supply. The whole look of things, so 
far as the direction of the great stream of salvation in Scripture is 
concerned, contemplates the operation of a visible Church in the 
world, which makes known the Gospel, and sets up its ordinances, 
and thus beseeches men to be reconciled to God, and helps believ- 
ers, by order and fellowship, "in the way to heaven. All historical 
Churches, as sections of the great visible Church, have laid stress 
on this work of theirs, and have thus responded in their theology 
to the strain of unspeakable earnestness with which Scripture exalts 
its own use and value, and urges men at once to receive it and make 
it known to others, as the power of God unto salvation. 

It is certainly anything but the first impression of things, as 
drawn from Scripture, that there should be a great unrevealed and 
independent system of grace, working in total detachment from 
this scheme of visible salvation, running parallel to it in time, 
stretching beyond it into eternity, and at length gathering up, so 
far as appears, without the employment of any of its means and 
instrumentalities, the unreclaimed members of the human, and it 
may be of another fallen race, into the kingdom of God. The 
clearest additional revelation would have been necessary to counter- 
act this strong impression ; nor can any reason be assigned why 
this revelation has been withheld. If the glory of God would be 
equally manifested in this alternative system of salvation, why is it 
left in such shade and darkness, while around the historical and 
visible Church, as bringing men to faith and repentance, the inter- 
est alike of men and angels is concentrated, and all things seem to 
rr.o.c for its extension and victory? If it be said that a fuller rev- 
elation of salvation, outside of and beyond the scope of the visible 
Church, would have interfered with its work, and made men less 
anxious to realize a present salvation, and extend it to others, is 
not this to confess a danger in the scheme of Restoration which is 
real and formidable, and which is not likely to attend a divine 


counsel certain to harmonize with all God's other ways? It is not 
meant to be argued, that in no exceptional way whatever can the 
unfathomable wisdom of God bring about any salvation, as in the 
case of infants and the heathen, save in the line and through the 
instrumentalities of the visible Church in its ordinary working. But 
a salvation like that of Restorationism, so wide, far-reaching, indis- 
criminate, succeeding where the visible Church has failed, and tran- 
scending all her marvels of grace and redeeming energy, cannot, I 
think, be believed in without throwing the ordinary dispensation of 
the Spirit into secondariness and shadow, and making the visible 
coming and presence of Christ's kingdom on earth different from 
what it is in Holy Scripture. 

In closing these observations, it is to be carefully remembered 
that these are not the proper evidences in reply to Restoration, 
they are only side-lights and corroborations. But the proper way 
to judge of their value is to ask, if as various and important collat- 
eral evidence can be produced in favor of the theory that has thus 
been adversely criticized. If there be such, it must be possible to 
bring it forward. Till this is done, the balance of General Christian 
doctrine must be held to be upon the side which, however often 
and eagerly opposed, has still kept its ground, and which with 
all its difficulties, is not likely to be displaced by a scheme that 
gives what relief it offers by a wide disturbance of the equi- 
librium of Christian theology. — Rev'd PRINCIPAL Cairns, D. D., 


f/JS ETERNAL punishment consistent with the infinite 
justice of God ? Is it compatible with His infinite 
goodness? Is it in keeping with His design in the 
'■■^ creation of the world ? The objections which are 
suggested by these questions are the most formidable ones 
with which the advocate of the orthodox doctrine of Retri- 
bution has to contend. 

I. Retribution and the Divine Justice. 

Orthodox writers sometimes dismiss the Universalist's objection 
based on this attribute of God, saying that since the Bible teaches 
eternal punishment, this doctrine must be compatible with God's 
justice. But this is hardly a fair way of dealing with the subject, 
for it might be rejoined : " Whether (or no) the Bible teaches the 
doctrine, is the issue in dispute. We claim that it does not teach 
it ; that the language alleged to teach it does not sustain the infer- 
ences based upon it ; that the contrary doctrine is implied in other 
passages of Scripture, and we are confirmed, moreover, in the belief 
that our exegesis is correct, by the view which we entertain respect- 
ing God as a just and good Being." There can be no valid objec- 
tion to this reply, for it is plain that the doctrine of Retribution and 
the attributes of God being factors in the inquiry, it is possible for 
men to reason to opposite conclusions according as they regard one 
or the other as the known quantity. It is possible to argue that 
since God is a being of infinite justice, it is not likely that the 


Scriptures contain the doctrine of endless punishment — that doc- 
trine being as some suppose, in conflict with this attribute, and it is 
possible to argue that it must be just for God to punish men etern- 
ally, since the Scriptures represent him as intending to inflict this 

A strong exegetical argument to the effect that endless punish- 
ment is taught in the Bible ought, it is true, to force the Universal- 
ist to give up his "a priori " objections ; but it would be better and 
fairer to grapple with the objection by showing that it proceeds 
upon false assumptions. Besides, it will be easier to show that the 
Scriptures do teach the doctrine under discussion, if it can be shown 
that there is no antecedent objection to it in the admitted justice 
and goodness of God. 

Now when it is said that the endless punishment of sinners 
would be an act of injustice, the question emerges, "What is justice?" 
It is doing right ; but it is more than that. It is doing right in 
reference to another. It contemplates two parties ; one the subject 
of the just feeling, the other the object of the just act. Justice is 
doing right, where doing wrong would be an injury to another. 
What is the measure of Justice? It is law. Justice, then, is doing 
to another what law ("Jus") says must be done. Justice, as an 
attribute of God's nature, is a word which affirms that he acts ac- 
cording to law in his dealings with moral beings. The Scrip- 
tures are careful to tell us that God is just ; he is not arbitrary 
or capricious. Whatever he does is done in accordance with 
law, and when it is said that God acts in accordance with law, 
it is meant that he acts in accordance with his own law. And 
God's law cannot be unjust, for there is no higher law by which 
it can be compared. If, then, as a matter of fact, God does 
punish men eternally, it is folly to say that God is nnjust on 
that account ; for he never acts capriciously, but in accord- 
ance with law ; and if the law of God calls for the punishment of 
the wicked, it is folly to say that it is an unjust law, for by what 


higher law is it to be judged? It would seem, like presumption to 
suggest an amendment to a Divine enactment. The only modest 
way of stating the objection under discussion would be to siy that 
the law of God, or what is the same thing, the nature of God, does 
not call for the endless punishment of the wicked ; on the contrary, 
it is repugnant to it. Stating the case thus, the Universalist does 
not undertake to say that if eternal punishment were true, God 
would be unjust — a blasphemous and absurd form of expression ; 
he simply says, " The doctrine is not true, and I know it is not 
true." This, however, implies great familiarity with the Divine 
mind, and it is interesting to inquire whence this information is ob- 
tained. It cannot come from the Bible, for the very point in dis- 
pute is whether the Bible does or does not teach the doctrine of 
eternal punishment, and the Universalist is by hypothesis arguing 
that it cannot teach it ; for such a doctrine would be abhorrent to 
God's nature ; so that the information he has is, after all, the tes- 
timony of his own reason. The argument is purely subjective, and 
when written in plain words amounts simply to the statement that 
the doctrine of eternal punishment is untrue, because eternal pun- 
ishment seems to him unjust. If this is a safe method of reasoning, 
we may abandon our dependence on a Divine revelation, and Pope 
may well challenge us to 

"Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod, 
Rejudge his justice, be the God of God." 

Men must have sound reasons for saying that the doctrine of 
eternal punishment is repugnant to the nature of God, and is con- 
tradicted by his justice. What are they? It is difficult to imagine 
more than two. It may be urged that the disadvantages under 
which men come into the world, are such that it would be wrong 
to punish them eternally ; and it may be said that the sins of which 
men are guilty, do not assume a gravity which calls for such a pen- 
alty ; in other words, that endless punishment is excessive punish- 
ment. These arguments deserve separate consideration. 


(i.) It is easy to imagine a man giving expression to his objec- 
tion in some such way as this : " I came into the world of sin by 
no choice of mine; was born of sinful parents; by sheer force of 
circumstances was led into sin long before I knew the evil of it, 
and I am told that for sins which I coi'.ld not otherwise than com- 
mit, I am liable to eternal punishment. Is this right?" It must 
appear at a glance that if these disadvantageous circumstances are 
a valid argument against eternal punishment, they are an equally 
valid argument against any punishment whatever ; for they are an 
argument against eternal punishment, only by being an argument 
against responsibility. "We could not help ourselves; therefore, 
we are not responsible ; therefore, we ought not to be punished 
eternally ;" therefore we ought not to be punished at all it might 
with equal propriety be added. But men are punished ; punish- 
ment in this world is palpable, and even those who deny the eternity 
of punishment, allow that some punishment will be inflicted in the 
next world. 

(2.) The next objection which might be urged, and which, in- 
deed, is urged by Universalist writers, is that punishment would be 
excessive if it were endless. To this it may be replied that, being 
criminals themselves, it is not strange that men should take this 
view of the sentence pronounced upon them. Moreover, it is a 
noteworthy fact, that those who say that eternal punishment would 
be excessive, are not able to say what punishment would suffice. 
They allow (many do) that the punishments of the next world may 
be indefinitely protracted, and that they may last for years, or 
centuries, or cycles ; the only thing which they venture to affirm 
with confidence in regard to them is, that they will not last forever. 
But when men confess so plainly that they do not know how much 
punishment sin deserves, how can they be so confident that it does 
not deserve endless punishment? They may say, of course, that 
punishment is disciplinary in design, and that, however long it lasts, 
the subject of it must be made happy in the end ; when they say 


this, however, they are not saying that endless punishment would 
be unjust, but that punishment being designed to make the subject 
of it ultimately happy, it cannot be inflicted so as to make him 
endlessly miserable. That eternal punishment is not necessarily 
unjust, may appear from another argument. It must be evident, 
that if any sin deserves eternal punishment, every sin does, — it a 
particular sin does not merit endless punishment, no sin merits this 

Let it be assumed, then, that the greatest sin a man has been 
or can be guilty of is deserving only of a definite punishment in 
time — a punishment measured by so many years or cycles. Then 
it follows that sin against God, even the greatest sin which a man 
can commit, is not the worst thing conceivable, for it is an evil, the 
exact measure of which can be computed in the figures of arith- 
m2tic. Let that punishment be protracted as long as you please, 
yet the moment the mind reaches in thought the time when the 
punishment expires, it will instinctively say, men might have done 
worse ; they might have deserved a still greater and more protrac- 
ted punishment than that which they had deserved for sinning 
agamst God. This process of reflection is not an argument in proof 
of eternal punishment ; but it is enough to show that so far as God's 
attribute of justice is concerned, the antecedent, and "a priori " dif- 
ficulty is greater when punishment is regarded as finite than when 
it is considered as endless. 

There ia another consideration which should be urged at this 
point, and that is the self-perpetuating power of sin. The operation 
of this law in human life does not ordinarily provoke complaint. 
Men see the victims of immoral life go down to lower and yet lower 
levels. They say, " This is the law of nature ;" but it never occurs 
to them to call in question the justice of the law. Arguing now on 
the basis of this self-perpetuating power of sin, it is not difficult to see 
that punishment would not necessarily be unjust if it were eternal. 
For when the progress of the soul in sin and suffering in this world 


awakens in us no disposition to reproach the Author of our bcinjr, 
it would be unreasonable for us to raise the cry of injustice when 
the continuity of the souls life is contemplated ; and if the soul 
should go into the other world under the operation of this self-per- 
petuating law, the difficulty which the mind would encounter, would 
not be that of supposing this state of things to continue for ever ; 
it would be the difficulty of supposing that this law should ever 
spend its force and become powerless. 

2. Retribution and the Divine Goodness. 

The reverential scepticism of a man like John Foster, who 
while admitting that the language of Scripture is formidably strong 
in favor of the doctrine of eternal punishment, nevertheless acknow- 
ledges that he is not convinced of the orthodox doctrine, is not only 
worthy of respect, but it is a scepticism of which more than one 
orthodox believer has at times been the subject, when he thinks of 
the infinite goodness of God. In no spirit of controversy, therefore, 
with no desire to champion a foregone conclusion, should a ques- 
tion which bears so terribly on the destiny of men be approached. 
It would be easy to quote passages which would show how Univer- 
salists are in the habit of stating the objection under consideration ; 
it is hoped, however, that no injustice will be done if their argu- 
ments are presented in our own words. This in substance is what 
they say : " Some men it matters not how many, are doomed, you 
say, to eternal misery, God could have prevented the dawn of 
life ; he could have placed them in circumstances more favorable 
to the reception of truth, but as the case stands, their unfavorable 
circumstances work their ruin. God has saved some ; you make a 
great deal of that to illustrate his goodness ; but what would you 
think of the man who would save two men on a sinking vessel, and, 
with abundant means at his command should leave the rest to 
perish? Yet this is virtually what you ask me to believe concern- 
ing God, and, believing this to regard him as my Father, and to 


feel assured that all we know of parental love is true of God, since 
he is the great Prototype of Fatherhood. 

" Would I deal thus with my own child ? Can I imagine the 
fountain of parental affections to be so dry that no responsive tears 
would follow the piteous cry of a suffering child ? No ! love would 
overleap all barriers ; it would let nothing stand in the way, and 
God, because he is love, will not allow his children to bear the tor- 
ments of an endless penalty." 

To the objections founded on God's goodness, the reply may 
be made : 

1st. That in the exercise of benevolence, God acts according 
to his own good pleasure. 

2nd. That the area of benevolence must be limited by the 
demands of justice. 

If now it is allowed that in the exercise of his benevolence, God 
acts according to his own good pleasure, one has no right to say 
how benevolent God will be, except on the authority of some 
special information. The bare epithet " benevolent " does not carry 
with it the exclusive significance which pertains to the word "just." 
In order to affirm with propriety that God wills the highest happi- 
ness of all his creatures because he is benevolent, it is necessary to 
add to the epithet " benevolent " another qualifying term ; accord- 
ingly, men who believe in the Universalist faith, are in the habit of 
saying, that since God is infinitely benevolent he must will the 
happiness of all his creatures. God is benevolent in electing some, 
they allow ; but would he not have been more benevolent had he 
elected all ; and can that be infinite benevolence which shows itself 
in such a partial and discriminating manner? God they say, has 
chosen some to eternal lite for no other reason than that he was 
benevolent ; can he, however, be infinitely benevolent when he 
chose some, and not all ? Would he not have been more benevo- 
lent if he had chosen a greater number? The objection is clearly 
to the effect that a being of infinite benevolence must give expres- 


sion to a benevolence which is infinite ; or in other worJs, that a 
being- of infinite benevolence must be as benevolent as he can be. 
But what are the facts? The number of sentient beings in the 
universe is finite. God is not as benevolent as he can be so far as 
the number of those enjoying his goodness is concerned, for he 
could double that number. The benevolence of which sentient 
beings are the subjects is of various degrees. The benevolence of 
God might be manifested on a larger scale by bringing the lower 
grades of happiness up to the level of the highest. If infinite be- 
nevolence is that which cannot be increased, it is incompatible with 
gradations of happiness, and a dead level would be the logical out- 
come. The objects of God's benevolence differ in their capacities. 
A wide interval separates the " foraminifera from the mollusk, th-? 
mollusk from the Mastodon, the Mastodon from man, man from 
his Maker." But if infinite benevolence must be so exercised as 
to forbid the question whether God might not have been more 
benevolent, are men not bound to say, and is not the Universalist 
forced to allow, that God is not infinitely benevolent ? Again, if a 
limited capacity hold only a limited goodness, will the aggregate of 
limited capacities yield more than a finite quantity? And if what 
is finite is able to manifest only a goodness that is finite, is there 
any way for God to manifest, that is, to actualize, infinite goodness, 
except by making an infinite being. So that the objections that 
God must be as good as he can be in order that he may be a being 
of infinite goodness, really means that God must manifest or actu- 
alize a goodness which is incapable of being increased — that is to 
say, infinite goodness ; and this leads to the absurdity of saying 
that God must make an infinite being as the sphere in whom in- 
finite goodness can be actualized before God is entitled to be called 
a being of infinite goodness. The objections that God cannot be 
infinitely good or benevolent if he is discriminatingly and partially 
benevolent, must be given up, because it leads to absurd conclu- 
sions. In other words, men must treat God's goodness as they do 


his power, and regard it as an infinite potentiality in him, and not 
an infinity actualized in the universe. 

So regarding it, however, the difficulty vanishes, and the objec- 
tion falls to the ground. There is enough in the universe to sug- 
gest the thought that God is infinite in goodness. It is not difficult 
to believe that God has resources enough in his nature to make glad 
a universe of sentient beings ; that the pulsations of his heart are 
felt in Orion and the Pleiades ; and that, after all, he could build 
another universe, and sow the seeds of a wider harvest of happi- 
ness. If reflecting only on his goodness to themselves, when ac- 
count has been taken of the correspondence between man's corporal 
nature and the external world ; when it is considered how his senses 
are made tributary to his enjoyment ; when he has reflected on the 
capacities for increasing happiness with which he is furnished in his 
mortal structure ; when he remembers that God has endowed him 
with immortality, has provided for the happiness of that immortal 
life by the sacrifice of his Son ; when he remembers that his life is 
to continue without stagnation through all time, and that God's 
goodness is a fountain from which he is to draw eternal joy, — it 
would not be strange if, under the inspiration of these great facts, 
he should fall down upon his knees and thank God for his infinite 
goodness. Nay, though he were the only object of this goodness 
in the wide universe, he should still thank him for his infinite love, 
and it would not occnr to him to challenge the accuracy of the 
epithet because on reflection he discovered that God had not been 
as good to others as he had been to him. 

A line may be conceived as infinite without implying that it 
fills all space. The ocean may be fathomless, though its waters are 
walled in by the shores of two continents. And men, when they 
have dropped the sounding line of their experience into the ocean 
of God's love, shall not be deterred from proclaiming that it has no 
bottom, because the waters of that ocean break against the beetling 
coast line of the Divine decrees.— F. L. Patton, D. D., LL. D., 
Princeton, N. J. (Condensed from Princeton Review, Jan., 1878.) 


" And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." 

itr^l^^ HERE are large numbers who, affecting great admira- 
tion for the amiable teachings of Jesus, shrink back 
declaring, " this is a hard saying, who can hear it ?" 
t^^^^ The chief of these objectors may be classified into 
^^ three : those who deny that the Scriptures mean to teach a 
'''r^ retributive torment ; those who deem such a doctrine incon- 
sistent with other fundamental truths of revealed theology ; and 
those who reject alike, the inspiration of the Scriptures and the 

As to the first of these classes, who profess to accept the Scrip- 
tures as of inspired authority, and yet deny that they teach the 
doctrine of a hell, it must be confessed there is nothing to encour- 
age an argument with such. For if the acknowledging of the Scrip- 
tures, in the plain common sense meaning of their words, does not 
settle the question, it is difficult to conceive how such a truth can 
be expressed in human language at all. We need not stand upon 
the terms "hell," and "fire," and " Tophet." If these are offensive 
to " ears polite," then find smoother terms if you please. The ques- 
tion is not of words, but of ideas and principles. Whether this 
scene is properly named " Hell," or " Hades," or " Sheol," still it is 
a place where a soul is in " torment," afar off from Abraham's state 


of bliss, and ci/ing out in anguish. So that the idea of a place of 
intense unhappiness, separate from the place of bliss after a man 
dies, and this growing out of something that had existed before 
death, is still left, though your criticisms have utterly rooted out 
the term " hell," or substituted for it the smoothest and most delight- 
ful of euphemisms. Nor does it affect in the least the principle, 
whether the parable is taken as narrating a real or a fictitious case ; 
since Jesus Christ, whose " truth is stranger than fiction," would 
employ to illustrate his doctrines only that fiction which is truci 
than truth, in the sense of having been specially created for the ex- 
hibition of some great principle. 

The real objection to the modern method of first applying a 
patent critical machinery to the words of inspiration, to squeeze 
out of them, before using, everything offensive or contrary to some 
new theory of theology, ethics, or philanthropy that has been first 
constructed outside the sphere of inspired ideas, and then brought 
to the Bible to be " underpinned " with texts, is not so much that 
it overthrows this or that doctrine of the gospel, as that it accustoms 
the people to trifling with the divinely inspired rule of faith. When 
the people are taught by one biblical critic that " hell " does not 
mean " hell," but some poetic fiction ; by another, that " Holy 
Ghost " does not mean " Holy Ghost," but a metaphysical figure of 
speech ; by another, that " wine " does not mean wine, but water 
filtered through grape sauce; by another, that "slave" does not 
mean slave, but an apprentice or a hireling ; by another, that the 
saying, " All scripture is God-inspired," does not mean inspired in 
any sense that guarantees the scriptures against absurd, mistaken 
or legendary statements, — how shall they do otherwise than con- 
clude that, from the uncertainties of its meaning, the Bible is utterly 
worthless as an infallible rule of faith ? 

Besides, it seems utterly useless, if one had a taste for it, to 
argue the reality of future retribution with such as profess to accept 
the inspired Scriptures, and yet deny this doctrine. For even after 


we have reasoned from indubitable premises, with mathematical 
certainty, to our conckision that there is a hell, that conclusion must 
be expressed in language ; and it is beyond the ingenuity of man 
to find language more definite and less subject to perversion by 
criticism, than that in which Scripture has already expressed the 
same conclusion. 

But they say the Scriptures do not mean that, though they say 
it. So these amiable theologians and critics might just as properly 
turn to the audience, to which we have demonstrated that — 

"There is a death whose pang 
Outlasts this fleeting breath ; 
And O eternal horrors hang 
Around this second death" 

and gravely caution them against alarm at our conclusion ; that 
we did not mean what we " seem. " to mean, that after the death of 
the body the soul may be unhappy ; that manifestly we used poetic 
figures of speech, and allowance must be made for poetic license! 
In what language could we express the future retribution for sin ; 
or in what greater variety of method and connection, than Jesus 
and his inspired agents have already done ? And if these critics 
ma)' say that Jesus and his inspired agents did not mean what they 
said, but something else — why not also say that, when we thus 
express in language the conclusions to which the most inexorable 
logic may drive us, we do not mean what our language conveys, 
but something entirely the reverse ? 

Of that very amiable class of theologians who deny retribution 
on the ground that such an idea is utterly repulsive to their con- 
ceptions of the love of God, as every where declared in the Gospel, 
there is space now only to say that their conception of the gospel 
is simply a caricature of the gospel ; kss rude, it may be. but not 
less wide of the truth than the fierce and wrathful gospel of the 
most maligrnant fanatic. 


The gospel preached by Jesus, is no monotone of " love," 
" love !" It is no cradle song of lullaby to soothe a babe to sleep 
with. It is no strain for the compass only of the gentle rebec, or 
"lute," or "soft recorder." It is a many-sided, many-voiced strain 
to fill the mighty compass of that great organ, the human soul ; 
to sweep its infinite diapason, and awaken, alike, the deep thunder 
tones of an accusing conscience ; the loud wails of penitential sor- 
row ; the subdued tones of loving but trembling faith ; and the 
lofty notes of the holy ecstasy of " joy unspeakable and full of 
glory !" It is Jesus Christ who wept over sinners, saying " O that 
thou hadst known '" who proclaims " the terrors of the Lord and 
flings the arrows of the Almighty." Remember it is the same 
Jesus who spake the parables of the lost sheep, the lost treasure, 
and the father yearning after his poor prodigal, that speaks the 
parable of the rich man in hell lifting up his eyes in torment. 

"And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf 
fixed : so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot ; 
neither can they pass to us that would come from thence." 

Aside from the judicial view of the matter, there is a reason, in 
the natural order and eternal constitution of things, why the rich 
man and Lazarus cannot spend their eternity together. While the 
Bible holds forth Heaven and Hell in the forensic aspect of the 
awards of a judgment, it no less clearly exhibits them as the natu- 
ral and necessary results of the life on earth. So that were there 
no coming of "the Son of ]\Ian in his glory ;" no setting up of his 
throne of judgment ; no trial and award ; no inquest into the deeds 
of the present life, heaven and hell must follow nevertheless. For 
those two estates in the future stand to the present in the relation 
simply of a natural separation of the evil from the good, which in 
this present state are "unnaturally" mingled together. 

Hell began on earth when sin began ; but, in virtue of the great 
mediatorial enterpwse of Christ to gather out of the doomed race a 
body for himself, the hand of Infinite Mercy suppresses the out- 


hursting of its fires to give time and opportunity for Christ to "sec 
of the travail of his soul and be satisfied." Hence the Apostle 
speaks of our universe as simply "kept in store, reserved unto fire 
against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men." And, 
since the work of redemption is finished, they speak of all the period 
that follows as the " last time," indicating that at any time now, the 
period may arrive when the Mediator, having no further use for it, 
the original sentence may be executed, and the •' unnatural " give 
way to the " natural " order — of the good to itself, and the evil to 
itself In accordance with this theory of the race, as a race, is all 
the teaching concerning the case of the individuals of it. " He that 
believeth not," saith Christ, " is condemned already," and the wrath 
of God abideth on him. On the other hand, " He that believeth, 
hath everlasting life ;" the estate of heaven is already begun in his 
soul. Every man carries within him here the germs of his heaven 
or hell. The grace of God nurtures the one, keeping it alive to the 
day of deliverance ; the mercy of God restrains the other from 
bursting forth until the day of doom. The gospel theory leaves, 
really, no place for the cavils against the injustice of punishing a 
man eternally for the sin of a few days on earth. For, according 
to this theory, the sinner remaining unchanged by the grace of 
God, and without the new life, goes on into eternity just as he is, 
to sin on, and therefore to suffer on forever. He suffers here be- 
cause he is a sinner, though on account of the restraining mercy of 
God, he only partially suffers the consequences of his sin. He goes 
on a sinner, and, therefore, to suffer in an estate where mercy ceases 
to interpose, but where the full consequences of his sin follow it 
forever. Hence it is represented as the decree, after the present 
estate, " He that is unjust, let him be unjust still ; and he that is 
filthy, let him be filthy still ; and he that is holy, let him be holy 
still." Thus, also, the relation of the present to the future life is set 
forth by the Apostle as the natural relation of seed time and har- 
vest. " What a man soweth that shall he also reap. He that sow- 


eth to the flesh, sliall of the flesh reap corruption ; and he that 
sovvcth to the spirit, chall of the spirit reap Hfc everlasting." By 
the same law, therefore, under which kind produces kind, and by 
which he that soweth wheat shall reap wheat, and he that soweth 
tares reaps tares, — shall he that soweth sin, during the present seed 
time, reap the harvest of sin throughout eternity. 

Bear in mind this very solemn view of the life here, as simpl)- 
the elements of heaven and hell commingling ; the heaven sup- 
pressed by the antagonist workings of sin in the members ; the hell 
suppressed by the hand of God's mercy restraining it. Remember 
too, that the condition natural is that of condemnation, and the 
new life in the soul the beginning of the everlasting life. Let not 
the fact of the junction of the two estates of life and death under 
the social conditions of the present life, deceive you into the belief 
that there is little difference between "him that believcth" and 
" him that believeth not." When, of God's grace, that intimate 
friend of yours is led to believe in Jesus, leaving you in unbelief, 
then, and there, this separation begins. A narrow chasm at first 
perhaps ; you still join the hand of friendship across it. But it will 
go on widening and widening, till, after death, it spreads " a great 
gulf, fixed " infinite and bridgeless ! 

It is on the ground of this second argument, in the response of 
heaven, that we meet the class of scoffers at the scriptural doctrine 
of retribution before mentioned. We will set aside that view if 
you please ; or even admit, for the sake of argument, the validity 
of your reasoning against the justice of eternal retribution. But 
"besides all this " independent of the question of the justice of the 
thing — by the natural and necessary order of the universe there is 
a "great gulf fixed between the evil and the good in the future 
state." And what though you have overthrown the judgment seat 
of Christ in the gospel, and scoffed the whole theory of reward and 
punishment out of the faith and the memory of the world — wherein 
will you have bettered your condition? The evil nature within 


you Still exists, and unless you are to perish as the brute, must 
continue to exist for ever. If you scoff at the gospel theory of a 
change of nature by a divine regeneration here, as absurd and 
unphilosophical, it is equally unphilosophical to conceive ofany sucli 
change there. So that, on your showing, here is a nature full of 
passions, and evil passions at that, passing on, stripped of all that 
held the passions in check on earth, into Eternity, an inextinguish- 
able, intelligent, conscious being. 

Now what else can follow than some such estate as Jesus 
describes by these tremendous types ? Follow, in idea, the men 
that surround you here, embodied in the flesh, as they pass into 
that existence, and tell us wherein the gospel exaggerates the 
picture of what be their future estate. Follow this sensualist, whose 
only notion of enjoyment, or capacity for it, is of that happiness 
which he has in common with the brutes, that comes through gra- 
tified sensations. But now the link is rusted away which bound 
his spirit to the flesh, and thereby furnished that channel of pleasure 
through the senses from a material world ; and he rushes, a naked, 
shivering spirit into a realm where there are no longer any senses 
to minister, or objects of sense to furnish pleasure ! Follow this 
Shylock, whose only conception of happiness is of gold hoarded up, 
and to whom a loss by some speculation or accident brings the 
pangs of hell even here on earth — follow him as his spirit dashes 
into eternity, stripped of all his wealth, to wander an immortal beg- 
gar ! Follow this creature of envy and jealousy, whose spirit burns 
with the smouldering fires of hell, if a rival gets the start of him 
in popular esteem, as he passes on to an eternal state in which the 
infinite gulf is fixed between the good and the evil ; across which 
he must gaze for ever at the crowned victors in the race for true 
glory ! Follow these, or any one of a score of characters that 
might be cited, into their immortality, and tell us what fitter figures 
Jesus could have used to describe it, than the eternal '"wailing and 
gnashing of teeth !" 


Yet this is not all ; for it presents the mere negations of pleas- 
ure. And, moreover, it takes into the account only the self action 
of each individual. But conceive of these spirits now all existinj^ 
together. To aid the conception, imagine the vile, depraved and 
reckless of the earth, even as they are in the flesh, all gathered to 
themselves. Empty out upon some island of the sea, all your 
prisons, with all the "hells" of your populous cities ; all the haunts 
of licentiousness and crime ; all the dens for the plotting of dis- 
honesty. Let there be no virtuous men to move among them. Let 
it be the place where law with its threats comes not ; where the 
usages of respectable life, with their restraints, come not ; and death 
comes not, nor the fear of retribution after death. Let all the fierce 
wickedness that is in them work itself out in a carnival of every 
lust and revelry of every passion ! See you not that these figures 
of the Scriptures for such a state of existence, instead of being rhe- 
torical exaggerations, are but the feeblest approximations of finite 
language to the expression of infinite ideas of terror. 

Here is the fundamental fallacy of all those scoffs at the gospel 
theology, as if it were responsible for the existence of the hell from 
which Jesus comes to redeem men. Hell is, in idea, altogether 
anterior to the gospel theology. It would have flamed none the 
less fiercely though Jesus had never come with the gospel remedy. 
Whether the gospel be trustworthy or not, there can be no doubt 
that the germinal fires of hell do exist already in the nature of man. 
And though the scoffers of these " last days " should triumph, and 
crush out of the world's thought every conception of a gospel, still 
these passions are alive in the human soul, and this depravity, with 
its inevitable sorrow ; and so long as the soul exists, must exist 
with it, save by some divine interposition such as they scoff at. 
Will men never learn that scoffing at the proposed remedy does not 
stay the disease? What though you demonstrate the quackery of 
the panacea that claims to be a sure antidote for cholera ? That 
stays not the still tread "of the pestilence that walketh in darkness!" 

The puuislniient ut wanton siuueis tossed about ceaselessly iu the dark air, by the most , 
furious winds. —The Inferno, Cautih 


What though you loathe the remedy which science has compounded 
for your sick bed, and cast it from you ? That gives no ease to 
your aching joints, or fevered brain ! What though in your peev- 
ishness, you strike down the arm of your physician, as he comes to 
hold over you the shield of his skill and ward off the thick-flying 
arrows of death ? That checks not the advance of the King o( 
Terrors to lay his cold hand upon you and claim you as his prey ! 
Now the Gospel is simply a remedy, and Jesus Christ the Great 
Physician, whom you must accept, or else let the disease of your 
soul work out the agonies of the second death. — Rev'd Stuart 
Robinson, D. D. (Louisville, Kentucky.) 


Violent diseases require violent remedies. This is an incontest- 
able maxim in the science of the human body, and is equally true 
in religion, the science that regards the soul. If a wound be deep, 
it is in vain to heal the surface, the malady would become the more 
dangerous, because it would spread inwardly, gain the nobler parts, 
consume the vitals, and so become incurable — such a wound must 
be cleansed, probed, cut, and cauterized ; and softening the most 
terrible pains by exciting in the patient a hope of being healed, he 
must be persuaded to endure a momentary pain in order to obtain 
a future firm established health. Thus in religion, when vice has 
gained the heart, and subdued all the faculties of the soul, in vain 
do we place before the sinner a few ideas of equity ; in vain do we 
display the magnificence of the heavens, the beauties of the church, 
and the charms of virtue ; " the arrows of the Almighty," must be 
fastened in him, Job vi. 4 ; " terrors, ?s in a solemn day, must be 
called round about him," Sam. ii. 22, and " knowing the terrors of 
the Lord," " we " must " persuade " the man, as the holy Scriptures 
express it. 


We aftirm, there is a hell, punishments finite in degree, but 
infinite in duration. We do not intend to establish here in a vague 
manner, that there is a state of future rewards and punishments, by 
laying before you the many weighty arguments taken from the 
sentiments of conscience, the declarations of Scripture, the confu- 
sions of society, the unanimous consent of mankind, and the attri- 
butes of God himself ; arguments which placing in the clearest 
light the truth of a judgment to come, and a future state, ought 
forever to confound the unbelievers and libertines, who glory in 
doubting both. We are going to address ourselves more immedi- 
ately to another sort of people, who do not deny the truth of future 
punishments : but who diminish the duration of them ; who either 
in regard to the attributes of God, or in favor of their own indo- 
lence, endeavor to persuade themselves, that if there be any 
punishments after death, they will neither be so general, nor so 
long, nor so terrible, as people imagine. Of this sort was Origen, 
in the primitive church, who was so famous for the extent of his 
genius, and at the same time for the extravagance of it ; admired 
on the one hand for attacking and refuting the errors of the 
enemies of religion, and blamed on the other for injuring the very 
religion that he defended, by mixing with it errors monstrous in 
their kind, and almost infinite in their number. He affirmed, that 
eternal punishments were incompatible both with the perfection of 
God, and that instability, which is the essential character of crea- 
tures ; and mixing some chimeras with his errors, he added, that 
spirits, after they had been purified by the fire of hell, would return 
to the bosom of God ; that at length they would detach themselves 
from him, and that God to punish their inconstancy would lodge 
them again in new bodies, and that thus eternity would be nothing 
but periodical revolutions of time. 

Such also were some Jewish Rabbis, who acknowledge, in 
general, that there is a hell : but add, there is no place in it for 
Israelites, not even for the most criminal of them, excepting only 


those who abjure Judaism ; and even these, they think, after they 
have suffered for one year, will be absolutely annihilated. Others 
say that the souls of aU men, good and bad, pass into a state of 
insensibility at death, with this difference only, that the wicked 
cease to be, and are absolutely annihilated ; whereas the right- 
eous will rise again into a sensibility in a future period, and will be 
united to a glorious body ; those wicked persons, who shall be 
alive, when Jesus Christ shall come to judge the world, will be the 
only persons, who will appear in judgment to receive their con- 
demnation there ; and these, after they shall have been absorbed 
in the general conflagration, which they say, is the " gehenna," or 
"hell fire," of which Scripture speaks, "Matt. v. 22," will be anni- 
hilated with the devils and the fires of hell ; so, that, according to 
them, nothing will remain in nature but the abode of happy spirits. 

Such are the suppositions of those, who oppose the doctrine we 
are going to establish. Let us endeavor to refute them. 

Scripture gives no countenance to this absurd opinion, that the 
wicked shall have no part in the resurrection and judgment. What 
could St. Paul mean by these words, " Despisest thou the riches of 
the goodness of God? After thy hardness and impenitent heart, 
dost thou treasure up unto thj'-self wrath against the day of wrath, 
and revelation of the righteous judgment of God ?" Rom. 2, 5. 
What does he mean by these words : " We must all appear before 
the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things 
done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be 
good or bad." 2 Cor, 5, 10. What does St. John intend by these 
words : " I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God ; the 
Sea gave up the dead which were in it, and they were judged (every 
man) according to their works ; and whosoever was not found writ- 
ten in the book of like, was cast into the lake of fire." Rev. 20, 
12-13-15. What meant Jesus Christ, when he said : "The hour is 
coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice 
of the Son of God, and shall come forth ; they that have done good 


unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the 
resurrection of damnation." John 5 ; 28, 29. 

Anything may be glossed over and varnished ; but was ever 
gloss more absurd than that of some, who pretend that the " resur- 
rection " spoken of in the last quoted v/ords is not to be understood 
of a literal proper resurrection, but of sanctification, which is often 
called a resurrection in scripture ? Does sanctification, then, raise 
some unto a " resurrection of life," and others unto a " resurrection 
of damnation?" Scripture clearly affirms, that the punishment of 
the damned shall not consist of annihilation, but of real and sensi- 
ble pain. This appears by divers passages. Our Saviour, speaking 
of Judas, said, " It would have been good for that man if he had 
not been born.', Matt. 26, 24. Hence we infer, a state worse than 
annihilation was reserved for this miserable traitor ; for had the 
punishment of his crime consisted in annihilation only, Judas, hav- 
ing already enjoyed many pleasures in this life, would have been 
happier to have been than not to have been. Again, Jesus Christ 
says, -'It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day 
of judgment than for thee." Matt. 11, 24. Hence we infer again, 
there are some punishments worse than annihilation ; for if Sodom 
and Capernaum were both annihilated, it would not be true that 
the one would be in a " more tolerable " state than the other. 

Scripture images of hell, which are many, will not allow us to 
confine future punishment to annihilation. It is a " worm," a " fire," 
a " darkness ;" there are " chains," " weeping," " wailing, and gnash- 
ing of teeth." Accordingly, the disciples of the head of the sect 
just now mentioned, and whose system we oppose, have renounced 
these two parts of their Masters doctrine, and, neither denying the 
generality of these punishments, nor the reality of them, are con- 
tent to oppose their eternity. 

But it appears by Scripture, that future punishment will be 
eternal. The holy Scripture represents another life as a state, in 
which there will be no room for repentance and mercy, and where 


the wicked shall know nothing but torment and despair. It com- 
pares the duration of the misery of the damned with the duration 
of the felicity of the blessed. Future punishment is always said to 
be eternal, and there is not the least hint given of its coming to an 
end. " Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the 
devil and his angels," Matt. xxv. 41. Their worm dieth not, and 
the fire is not quenched, Mark ix. 44. "If thy hand offend thee, 
cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, rather than 
having two hands, to be cast into everlasting fire." Matt, xviii. 8. 
" The devil, that deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and 
brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be 
tormented day and night for ever," Rev. xx. 10. Again, "the 
smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever." These 
declarations are formal and express. 

But the man who opposes our doctrine, reasons in this manner. 
Which way so ever I consider a being supremely perfect, I cannot 
persuade myself, that he will expose his creatures to eternal tor- 
ments. All his perfections secure me from such terrors as this 
doctrine seems to inspire. If I consider the Deity as a being per- 
fectly free, it should seem, although he has denounced sentences of 
condemnation, yet he retains a right of revoking, or of executing 
therq to the utmost rigor ; whence I infer, that no man can deter- 
mine what use he will make of his liberty. When I consider God 
as a good being, I cannot make eternal punishment agree with 
infinite mercy : " bowels of compassion " seem incongruous with 
" devouring flames," the titles " merciful and gracious " seem incom- 
patible with the execution of this sentence " depart ye cursed into 
everlasting fire," Matt. xxv. 41. In short, when I consider God 
under the idea of an equitable legislator, I cannot comprehend how 
sins committed in a finite period can deserve an infinite punish- 
ment. Let us suppose a life the most long and criminal that ever 
was ; let the vices of all mankind be assembled, if possible, in one 
man ; let the duration of his depravity be extended from the be- 


ginning of the world to the dissolution of it : even in this case sin 
would be finite, and infinite, everlasting punishment would far 
exceed the demerit of finite transgression, and consequently, the 
doctrine of everlasting punishment is inconsistent with divine 

Some Christian divines, in zeal for the glory of God, have yielded 
to these objections ; and under pretence of having met with timor- 
ous people, whom the doctrine of eternal punishment had terrified 
into doubts concerning the divine perfections, they thought it their 
duty to remove this stumbling block. They have ventured to pre- 
sume, that the idea which God has given of eternal punishment was 
only intended to alarm the impenitent, and that it was very proba- 
ble God would at last relax the vigorous sentence. But if it were 
allowed that God had no other design in denouncing eternal pun- 
ishments than that of alarming sinners, would it become us to 
oppose his wise purpose, and with our unhallowed hands to throw 
down the batteries, which he had erected against sin? Let us 
preach the gospel as God has revealed it. God did not think the 
doctrine of everlasting punishment injurious to the holiness of his 
attributes. Let us not pretend to think it will injure them. None 
of these reflections remove the difficulty. We proceed, then, to 
open four sources of solutions. 

1st. Observe this general truth. It is not probable God would 
threaten mankind with a punishment, the infliction of which would 
be incompatible with his perfections. If the reality of such a hell 
as the Scriptures describe be inconsistent with the perfections of 
the Creator, such a hell ought not to have been affirmed, yea, it 
could not have been revealed. The eminence of the holiness of 
God will not allow him to terrify his creatures with the idea of a 
punishment which he cannot inflict without injustice ; and consid- 
ering the weakness of our reason, and the narrow limits of our 
knowledge, we ought not to say such a thing is unjust, therefore it 

HELL. 419 

is not revealed ; but, on the contrary, we should rather say, such a 
thing is revealed, therefore it is just. 

2nd. Take each part of the objection drawn from the attributes 
of God, and said to destroy our doctrine, and consider it separately. 

The argument taken from the liberty of God would carry us 
from error to error, and from one absurdity to another. For, if God 
be free to relax any part of the punishment denounced, he is equally 
free to relax the whole. If we may infer that he will certainly re- 
lease the sufferer from a part, because he is at liberty to do so, we 
have an equal right to presume he will release from the whole, and 
there would be no absurdity in affirming the one after we had 
allowed the other. If there be no absurdity in presuming that God 
will release the whole punishment denounced against the impeni- 
tent, behold ! all systems of conscience, providence, and religion, 
fall of themselves ; and, if these systems fall, what, pray, become of 
all these perfections of God, which you pretend to defend ? 

The difficulty taken from the goodness of God vanishes, when 
we rectify popular notions of this excellence of the divine nature. 
Goodness in men is a virtue of constitution, which makes them 
suffer, when they see their fellow creatures in misery, and which 
excites them to relieve them. In God it is a perfection independ- 
ent in its origin, free in its execution and always restrained by 
laws of inviolable equity, and exact severity. 

Justice is not incompatible with eternal punishment. It is not 
to be granted, that a sin committed in a limited time ought not to 
be punished through an infinite duration. It is not the length of 
time employed in committing a crime, that determines the degree 
and the duration of its punishment, it is the turpitude and atro- 
ciousness of it. The justice of God, far from opposing the punish- 
ment of the impenitent, requires it. 

3rd. The doctrine of degrees of punishment affords us a third. 
I have observed with astonishment the little use, that Christians in 
general make of this article, since the doctrine itself is taught in 


Scripture in the clearest manner. When we speak of future pun- 
ishment, we call it all hell indifferently, and without distinction. 
We conceive of all the wicked as precipitated into the same gulf, 
loaded with the same chains, devoured by the same worm. We do 
not seem to think, there will be as much difference in their state as 
there had been in their natural capacities, their exterior means of 
obtaining knowledge, and their various aids to assist them in their 
pursuit of it. We do not recollect, that, as perhaps there may not 
be two men in the world, who alike partake the gifts of Heaven, 
so probably there will not be two wicked spirits in hell enduring 
an equal degree of punishment. There is an extreme difference 
between a heathen and a Jew ; there is an extreme distance be- 
tween a Jew and a Christian ; and a greater still between a Chris- 
tian and a heathen. The gospel rule is, " Unto whomsoever much 
is given, of him shall be much required," Luke xii. 48. There must, 
therefore, be as great a difference in the other life between the 
punishment of a Jew and that of a pagan, between that of a pagan 
and that of a Jew, between that of a pagan and that of a Christian, 
as there is between the states in which God has placed them on 
earth. Moreover, there ie a very great difference between one Jew 
and another, between pagan and pagan, Christian and Christian. 
Each has in his own economy more or less of talents. There must 
therefore, be a like difference between the punishment of one 
Christian and that of another, the punishment of oneje w and that 
of another Jew, the suffering of one pagan and that of another, and 
consequently, when we say, a pagan wise according to his own 
economy, and a Christian foolish according to his, are both in hell, 
we speak in a very vague and equivocal manner. 

To how many difficulties have men submitted by not attending 
to this doctrine of degrees of punishment ! Of what use, for 
example, might it have been to answer objections concerning the 
destiny of pagans ! As eternal punishment has been considered 
under images, that excite all the most excruciating pains, it could 

HELL. 421 

not be imagined how God should condemn the wise heathens to a 
state that seemed suited only to monsters, who disfigure nature 
and subvert society. Some, therefore to get rid of this difficulty, 
have widened the gate of heaven, and allowed other ways of arriv- 
ing there, besides that "whereby we must be saved" Acts iv. 12. 
Cato, Socrates, and Aristides, have been mixed with the " multi- 
tude redeemed to God out of every people, and nation " Rev. v. 9. 
Had the doctrine of diversity of punishments been properly attended 
to, the condemnation of the heathens would not have appeared 
inconsistent with the perfections of God, provided it had been con- 
sidered only as a punishment proportional to what was defective in 
their state, and criminal in their life. For no one has a right to 
tax God with injustice for punishing pagans, unless he could prove 
that the degree of their pain exceeded that of their sin ; and as no 
one is able to make this combination, because Scripture positively 
assures us, God will observe this proportion, so none can murmur 
against his conduct without being guilty of blasphemy. 

The fourth source of solutions we wish particularly to inculcate 
among those, who extend the operations of reason too far in mat- 
ters of religion. Our maxim is this. We know indeed, in general, 
what are the attributes of God ; but we are extremely ignorant of 
their sphere, we cannot determine how far they extend. We know 
in general, God is free, he is just, he is merciful ; but we are too 
ignorant to determine how far these perfections must go, because 
the infinity of them absorbs the capacity of our minds. An exam- 
ple may render our meaning plain. Suppose two philosophers, 
subsisting before the creation of this world, and conversing together 
on the plan of the world, which God was about to create. Suppose 
the first of these philosophers affirming, — God is going to create 
intelligent creatures — he could communicate such a degree of know- 
ledge to them as would necessarily conduct them to supreme hap- 
piness — but he intends to give them a reason, which may be abused, 
and may conduct them from ignorance to vice, and from vice to 


misery. Moreover, God is going to create a world, in which virtue 
will be almost always in Irons, and vice on a Throne. Tyrants 
will be crowned, and pious people confounded. Suppose the first 
of our philosophers to maintain these theses, how think you ? 
Would not the second have reasoned against this plan ? Would 
he not, in all appearance, have had a right to affirm, — It is impos- 
sible that God, being full of goodness, should create men, whose 
existence would be fatal to their happiness. It is impossible that 
a Being, supremely holy, should suffer sin to enter the world. Yet, 
how plausible soever the reasons of this philosopher might then 
have appeared, the event has since justified the truth of the first 
plan. It is certain God has created the world on the plan of the 
first ; and it is also as certain, that this world has nothing incom- 
patible with the perfections of God, how difficult soever we may 
find it to answer objections. It is our diminutiveness, the narrow- 
ness of our minds, and the immensity of the Deity, which prevent 
our knowing how far his attributes can go. Apply this to our sub- 
ject. The idea of hell seems to you repugnant to the attributes of 
God ; you cannot comprehend how a just God can punish finite 
sins with infinite pain ; how a merciful God can abandon his crea- 
ture to eternal miseries. Your difficulties have some probability, 
I grant ; your reasons, I allow, seem well grounded. But dost thou 
remember, the attributes of God are infinite? Remember, thy 
knowledge is finite. Remember the two philosophers disputing on 
the plan of the world. Remember the event has discarded the 
dif^culties of the last, and justified the plan of the first. Now, the 
revelation of future punishments in our system is equal to event in 
that of the first philosopher. They are revealed. You think future 
punishment inconsistent with the attributes of God : but your notion 
of inconsistence ought to vanish at the appearance of Scripture light. 
Observe once more the quality, and the duration of the punish- 
ments of hell. The quality is expressed in these words, "smoke," 
" torment." The metaphorical terms include five ideas : Privation 

HELL. 423 

of heavenly happiness — sensation of pain — remorse of conscience 
— horror of society — increase of crime. These are the punishments 
of condemned souls. It remains only that we consider the length 
and duration of them. But by what means, my brethren, shall we 
describe these profound articles of contemplation ? Can we num- 
ber the innumerable, and measure that which is beyond all men- 
suration ? Can we make you comprehend the incomprehensible ? 
And shall we amuse you, with our imaginations? 

One night passed in a burning fever, or in struggling in the 
waves of the seas between life and death, appears of an immense 
length ! It seems to the sufferer as if the sun had forgot its course, 
and as if all the laws of nature itself were subverted. What, then, 
will be the state of those miserable victims to divine displeasure, 
who. after they shall have passed through the ages, which we have 
been describing, will be obliged to make this overwhelming reflec- 
tion. All this is only an atom of our misery ! What will their 
despair be, when they shall be forced to say to themselves, again 
we must revolve through these enormous periods ; again we must 
suffer a privation of celestial happiness ; devouring flames again ; 
cruel remorse again ; crimes and blasphemes over and over again ! 
" Forever I forever !" How severe is this word even in this life ! 
How great is a misfortune when it is incapable of relief! How 
insupportable, when we are obliged to add forever to it ! These 
irons forever ! these chains forever ! this prison forever ! this univer- 
sal contempt forever ! this domestic trouble forever ! Poor mortals ! 
how short sighted are you to call sorrows eternal, which end with 
your lives ! What ! this life ! this life, that passes with the rapacity 
of a "weaver's shuttle" Job vii. 6, this life, which vanishes "like a 
sleep "Ps. xc. 5, is this what you call forever! Ah! absorbing 
periods of Eternity, accumulated myriads of ages ; these, if I may 
be allowed to speak so, these will be the For Ever of the damned — 
Rev'd James Saurin. (Translated from the P>ench.) 



,,. :, S^lnfl^lg(;|^W'v-^-^- 





(Baptist Church) Cheltenham, Ontario. 

^ HE subject which engages our attention is a very solemn 

;!^ one. It is one, on which, were a minister of the Gos- 
'}\ pel to consult simply his own feelings, he would seldom 

'CkB^'^^ speak at all. But if he wishes to say, like Paul, " I am 
*fe{ free from the blood of all men," he must also be able to 
^^ affirm with the same great apostle, " I have not shunned to 
declare the whole counsel of God." Of course our appeal on this, 
as on every other theme connected with revealed religion, must be, 
" to the law and the testimony," If men speak not according to 
this word, it is because there is no light in them. Merely human 
speculation as to what it is right and proper for God to do with 
the impenitent hereafter, must never be heeded for a single mo- 
ment. It is the supremacy of God's word, not the supremacy of 
men's devices and desires, which must ever be recognized. To 
calm and careful reasoning from Holy Scripture we are bound to 
give the deepest attention. Our business in this inquiry concern- 
ing future punishment is only with " what is written in the Scrip- 
ture of Truth." We are shut up to one question, and only one. 
What saith the Lord ? It is the duty of every man to whom the 
Word of God comes, to ascertain the truth which it teaches, and to 


maintain that truth at all hazard. Indeed, the Book itself requires 
us to "prove all things, and hold fast that which is good ;" while 
its own testimony concerning every one of its statements is this, 
" All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for 
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 

Let me examine with all candor and reverence the solemn de- 
clarations of sacred Scripture regarding the future state of the im- 
penitent. My aim is to present the truth in its plain and simple 
teachings, and with such feelings of tenderness as the awful subject 
demands ; and my prayer is, that the discussion may awaken 
neither resentment against God, nor resistance to His testimony 
but a true repentance unto life, and a timely fleeing from the wrath 
to come. 

Two different theories are advanced by those who deny the 
doctrine of " everlasting punishment," as held by evangelical chris- 
tians. The one theory is that of the Restorationists, who maintain 
that after certain suffering hereafter, the wicked are in some unex- 
plained way to be restored to the favor and enjoyment of God in 
heaven. This is the view which is creating some little stir in Great 
Britain at the present day, and which is advanced by certain semi- 
philosophical and semi-poetical dreamers, with whom the wish is 
father to the thought, that somehow : 

"Good will be the final goal of ill." 

The other theory is that of the destructionists, who also allow that 
there will be certain sufferings hereafter ; but as the result of these, 
the wicked will be annihilated, or blotted out of being. Both of 
these theories we regard as utterly unscriptural, and we hope to 
prove them so ; although our present examination will be chiefly 
confined to the latter of the two. Proceeding then to a careful in- 
duction of Scripture testimony, we regard the Bible as teaching : 
I. That the future state of the unsaved will be one 
OF misery and suffering. In Matt. XXV. 46, it is called, "punish- 


ment" by the Faithful and True Witness. "These shail go away 
into everlasting PUNISHMENT." Now the Greek word (KOLASIN*) 
here translated "punishment," is found in the New Testament, 
(i John iv. 18,) and is there rendered "torment." "Fear hath tor- 
ment ;" that is, dread of God brings conscious, painful suffering 
to every mind that experiences it. Accordingly, since the word is 
translated " torment " in the one passage and can have no other 
meaning, it might with equal propriety and force have been trans- 
lated "torment" in the other. Indeed, that this is the only correct 
meaning of the word may be further seen from the 41st verse of 
the above chapter, Matthew xxv. 49, where we learn that the 
"everlasting punishment" into which the unsaved go away, is 
" everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Surely 
that is torment ; that is the very place where according to the 20th 
chapter of Revelation, they "shall be TORMENTED day and night 
forever and ever." So that if the words of the Bible are to be taken 
in their plain and natural sense, it seems clear that the future state 
of the impenitent is to be one of pain and suffering, of wretched- 
ness and misery. In the Epistle to the Romans (chapter ii. 8-9) wc 
read that " indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish," will be 
the portion of " every soul of man that doeth evil." Would any 
one be bold enough to deny that " indignation and wrath " neces- 
sarily involve the idea of conscious misery? Think, moreover, of 
the words of Jesus, recorded no fewer than seven times in the Gos- 
pels : " There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Could lan- 
guage be found to prove more conclusively that the sufferings of 
the lost are to be intense in their character? Add to this mass of 
Scripture testimony, the representations which are found scattered 
throughout the New Testament of a " lake of fire," " a lake that 
burned with fire and brimstone," a place " where the worm dieth 

*The cognate verb is also found in two passages in the original. Acts iv. 21, 2 Pet«r 
ii. 9, in both of which an English reader will readily gather that its meaning is, to 



not, and the fire is not quenched ;" and it must appear to any one 
not warped by prejudice, that whatever these physical representa- 
tions may mean, they plainly teach that the suffering of the unsaved 
will be at once conscious and severe. 

That there will be degrees of punishment hereafter, just as there 
are degrees of guilt here, is readily admitted. Stripes, few or many, 
according to desert, is what the Saviour teaches, (Luke xii. 47.) 
The same measure of punishment will not be meted out to all. 
From Luke x. 13, and Matt. x. 15, we learn that it will be " more 
tolerable" for some than for others in the day of judgment. The 
sentences may probably range from little else than the blank nega- 
tion of blessedness on to the uttermost intensity of woe. In pro- 
portion to privileges, and opportunities, and advantages, will be the 
awarded punishment. Those who had for guidance the law writ- 
ten in the Holy Scripture, will be judged according to Holy Scrip- 
ture. If, like the inhabitants of Sidon, men have seen only the 
ordinary works of God, for ordinary privileges will they be held 
responsible ; but if, like the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida, 
they have witnessed marvels of grace and miracles of mercy, for 
extraordinary privileges they will be held responsible. In every 
individual case there will either be mitigation or aggravation : the 
aggravation according to what a man hath ; the mitigation accord- 
ing to what he hath not. Plain and palpable will be the proof that 
there is no unrighteousness with God, and that '• whatsoever a man 
soweth, that shall he also reap." 

This, then, is our first position, that the sacred writers invariably 
speak of future punishment in terms which suggest the idea of suf- 
fering, or pain, or misery. I might refer to other expressions em- 
ployed, such as " woe," " wrath to come," " shame and everlasting 
contempt." Whatever may be the language used, whatever may 
be the representation, given, future punishment is always something 
that may be FELT. The whole tenor of the teaching is inconsistent 
•vith the notion of annihilation. In short, we are driven to adopt 


one or other of two alternatives : — either the words of the Bible 
descriptive of the future state of the ungodly are to be understood 
in their plain and common acceptation, or else the Book sorely de- 
ceives, when it threatens the impenitent with a doom of which they 
will never be conscious. Which of these alternatives shall we ac- 
cept ? Need I ask the question ? Must not every sincere inquirer 
say : " Let God be true, but every man," speaking in opposition to 
Him, " a liar." 

But the Bible teaches, 

II. That the future state of the unsaved will be one 

different words are employed to teach the duration of the two dif- 
ferent destinies. " These shall go away into EVERLASTING pun- 
ishment, but the righteous into life ETERNAL." " Everlasting " and 
" Eternal " are two words in our English New Testament ; but in 
the original Greek the two clauses have one and the self-same word. 
In both members of the text it is found in the same form, and with 
precisely the same accompaniments. This verse alone, therefore, 
ought to put the question beyond the range of fair discussion. If 
the wicked may look forward to a close of their " everlasting " 
misery, then the righteous, on the same principle, may expect the 
close of their " eternal " life. As it will be with the one in duration, 
so will it be with the other. Indeed, I hesitate not to affirm, that 
not one single instance can be found in the Greek New Testament, 
where the word (aionios) expresses any other idea than that of 
endless duration. It occurs no fewer than seventy-one times in the 
original, and a careful collocation of all the passages will show that 
it is used forty-two times of the life which God gives through Jesus 
Christ ; fourteen times of salvation and its issue ; three times of 
duration as measured by the ages of a past eternity ; twice of Jesus 
Christ as the " Eternal Life ;" once of the " Everlasting God ;" once 
of the " Eternal Spirit ;" and once of the " power everlasting " as- 
cribed to the blessed and only Potentate. 


There remain seven other solemn passages in which the word is 
used of future woe : — twice (Matt, xviii. 8 : xxv. 41), of "everlast- 
ing fire," as the portion of the wicked, both angels and men ; once, 
of "everlasting punishment;" once (2 Thess. i. 9,) of "everlasting 
destruction ;" once (Heb. vi. 2,) of "eternal judgment ;" once (Mark 
iii. 29,) of "eternal damnation ;" and once (Jude 7,) of that "ven- 
geance of eternal fire," which fell on the doomed inhabitants of 
Sodom and Gomorrha. Is not the conclusion irresistible that the 
future felicity of the righteous and the future misery of the wicked 
are alike and absolutely endless ? When we read in the New Tes- 
tament that the " life," and the " habitations," and the " glory," and 
the " inheritance," and the " kingdom," and the " salvation," of God's 
children are all represented as " everlasting," we never for a moment 
dream that the happiness of heaven will be insecure, that the laurel 
will ever be withered, or the harp unstrung in that better land. And 
if the very same term (a word which is confessedly the strongest 
afforded by the Greek language,) is employed to indicate the con- 
dition of the unsaved after the resurrection and the judgment, on 
what principle of either sound interpretation or common sense, can 
we conclude that there will be any change of their state or limit to 
their punishment? I take it that the teaching of the Scriptures 
requires me to warn men to " flee from the wrath to come," on the 
ground that the threatened wrath will be both intense in its char- 
acter and endless in its duration. 

But we do not build our belief on merely one isolated passage 
of God's word. To the same conclusion the repeated testimony of 
Scripture invariably leads. Is the condition of the lost hereafter 
represented as " darkness," a figure which is always employed in the 
Bible to indicate a condition of ignorance, and wickedness, and 
wretchedness? Then that "darkness" is both dense and unre- 
lieved, — it is the " blackness of darkness forever." (Jude 13.) Does 
coming woe, like a " worm," prey upon the very vitals of their being ? 
Then three times over (Mark ix. 44,46,48) the loving Saviour tells 


US that " their worm dieth not." Is the punishment of the impeni- 
tent symboHzed by "fire?" Then it is set forth in the Scripture 
as at once "eternal" (Jude 7) and "unquenchable," (Matt. iii. 12). 
Is the awful abode of the lost described as a " lake of fire and brim- 
stone," where the devil and deceivers have their portion ? Then we 
are taught (Rev. xx. 10) that there they "shall be tormented day 
and night forever and ever." Is the future doom of the lost desig- 
nated as " destruction " or ruin ? Then it is an " everlasting des- 
truction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his 
power," (2 Thess. i. 9). Is the constant employment of the living 
creatures round about God's throne in heaven set forth by the 
phrase, (Rev. iv. 8) " they rest not day and night ?" Then by the 
same phrase, and in precisely the same words in the original Greek, 
(Rev. xiv. 11) is the severe and ceaseless torment of the unsaved 
described. Do we read, (Mark iii. 29) that he that shall blaspheme 
against the Holy Ghost "is in danger of eternal damnation ?" Then 
it is affirmed, (Matt. xii. 31, 32) that this same sinner shall not be 
forgiven, " neither in this world nor in the world to come." Is the 
phrase that teaches the eternity of God's glory, and the endlessness 
of Christ's throne, and the perpetuity of the saint's reign, confess- 
edly the strongest employed in Scripture to designate duration ? 
Then by the same phrase, " forever end ever,"* is the endlessness of 
future torment represented. Surely every one must see that lan- 
guage so strong, and forms of expression so unvarying in theii 
meaning WOULD not and COULD not have been used in a revelation 
from God, unless the doom of the wicked is to be one of endless 

One or two other passages may be referred to which set the 
doctrine, if possible, in yet stronger light. In Mark xiv. 21, our 

• It has been well said that if the Greek phrase, eis tous aionias ton aionon, does 
not convey the idea of eternity, then " it would not have been possible to express the 
idea in human language." It is found in twenty passages in the New Testament, in 
not one of which has it ever a limited meaning. The translation, '''until the ages of 
the ages," is so absurd and meaningless, that the merest tyro in Greek would blush to 
advocate it. It is "unto," "for," or "during the ages of the ages." See Liddell and 
Scott on both eis and aion. 


Lord pronounces a "woe" upon Judas, and adds, "good were it for 
that man if he had never been born." Would not these words be 
meaningless, if they did not teach that to the '• woe " or punishment 
of the betrayer, there can come no ultimate relief Suppose suffer- 
ing as severe as you will, but admit that there is a point somewhere 
in the distant future, where it is to terminate, then as there w^ould 
still be an eternity beyond that free from suffering, it could not be 
said of any individual, that it would be good for him if he had never 
been born. If Judas is to be blotted out of existence, it would then 
be the same with him as if he never had been born. But the thing 
is beyond a doubt. Judas will never cease to suffer ; for the 
Saviour's solerhn saying continues uncancelled, "good were it for 
that man if he had never been born." 

From another point of view, also, we may look at the question 
for a single moment. The ungodly man goes away into everlast- 
ing punishment. He enters into that state, that prison house of 
the lost, an unrepentant, unforgiven sinner, and he sins all the time 
he continues there. If, to use the Saviour's language, in one of his 
parables in the i8th chapter of Matthew, he owed ten thousand 
talents when his punishment commenced, will not the debt be ever 
increasing? The culprit cannot pay that debt ; Christ will not pay 
it ; and if the debtor is to be put out of existence, it will never be 
paid at all. How absurd the conclusion ! And how utterly op- 
posed to what the Saviour himself teaches, (Matt. v. 26) that no one 
shall depart from that prison till he " has paid the uttermost far- 
thing '" Could language teach more plainly, that he is liable to a 
penalty which he can never fully pay, and handed over to a doom 
which will never come to an end? Indeed the whole testimony of 
Scripture on the eternity of future punishment corresponds, and 
coheres, and culminates. It gathers together into a mass of evi- 
dence, and weight of proof, which leaves nothing to be desired, is 
perfectly irresistible. 


We might finish at this point, convinced as we are that wc have 
taught, and estabhshed, and vindicated the truth of God on this 
solemn subject. But there remain certaih specious and sophistical 
objections, which, because they have led away the unstable and 
unwary, seem to call for some consideration. The inquiry may be 
made. Does not the preacher know something on the other side 
of the question ? Are there not certain passages in the Bible, 
especially in the Old Testament, which modify or explain the pass- 
ages already quoted and examined ? My answer is, as seeing Him 
who is invisible, I do not know a single verse, which, fairly inter- 
preted, teaches anything contrary to these plain declarations. I 
cannot find within the boards of the Bible, a passage which proves 
that the punishment of the lost will be temporary. We may be 
referred to verses, where we read that the ungodly are to die, to 
perish, to be cut off, to lose life, to be consumed, to be destroyed, 
to be burned up , to be as though they had not been, to be blotted 
out of a book, and so on. My reply is that many of these passages 
refer to earthly judgments, and not to the final state of the impeni- 
tent dead. They are wrested from their connection, and made to 
teach what the Holy Spirit never intended that they should teach. 
It is somewhat remarkable that the majority of them are found in 
the Old Testament. Why should men ignore or overlook the 
plain teachings of the New Testament, and grope for light about 
the future in the midst of comparative darkness? Has not Jesus 
Christ " brought life and INCORRUPTION to light THROUGH THE 
Gospel?" Besides, the meaning assigned to those terms, which 
are so much quoted by the upholders of the Annihilationist theory, 
is one which they will not bear. Their system of interpretation 
makes sad havoc alike of Scripture and of common sense. They 
affirm that to " die " means to " go out of existence." Did Adam 
certainly " go out of existence " in the day he ate the forbidden 
fruit? Is that the meaning of Gen. ii. 17? Is the woman who 
liveth in pleasure "annihilated" (i Tim. v. 6,) while she liveth? 


When Christ said, (Matt. viii. 22,) " Let the dead bury their dead," 
did He give the absurd command that those who have ceased to 
exist were to bury those who have ceased to exist ? Equally erron- 
eous is the meaning- attached to the other terms on which the des- 
tructionist theory is based. Was the land of Egypt blotted out of 
being, when Pharaoh said, (Exodus x. 7,) that it was " destroyed " 
by reason of the plagues ? Twice in the course of one prophetic 
book, (Hosea xiii. 9 ; iv. 6,) are God's people told by Him that 
they were " destroyed ;" and yet they had not ceased to exist, for 
God still continued to warn and exhort them by His prophet. So 
of the other terms: "the righteous perisheth," (Isa. Ivii. i,) and 
"the land perisheth," (Jer. ix. 12 ;) Jacob was "consumed " (Gen. 
xxxi. 40,) and Christ was "eaten up" (or consumed, for the word 
in the original is the same,) by the zeal of God's house (Psalm Ixix. 
9 ;) Enoch " was not," Gen. v. 24 ;) Messiah was " cut off" (Daniel 
ix. 16,) "was cutoff out of the land of the living," (Isa. liii. 8.) 
Would anyone be bold and blasphemous enough to assert that the 
words in these passages teach the extinction of the persons of 
whom they are predicted ? Indeed we could take the book of Job 
alone, and on the theory of interpretation adopted by the destruc- 
tionists, we could show by numerous quotations from the mouth of 
the old patriarch of Uz, that he ought to have been blotted out ot 
being more than twenty times over before we reach the end of the 
thirtieth chapter. Ought not this fact alone to convince any one 
of the folly of this interpretation, and the utter fallacy and futility 
of the Annihilationist argument. 

We cannot close without some reference to the tendencies and 
results of the theory we have been examining. In its fully devel- 
oped form it leads to the grossest kind of materialism. Denying 
the immorality of the soul, it makes the body the whole of man ; 
it tells the Christian mother that the infant whom God took, and 
whom she expects to meet again, will have no future existence ; it 
says to those who are mourning the loss of loved ones who have 



died in the Lord, that the spirits of the departed are NOT " with 
Christ, which is far better," that to be " absent from the body " is 
NOT to be " present with the Lord," that the souls of believers do 
NOT immediately pass into paradise, but are consigned to a con- 
dition of unconscious slumber. With such a prospect before him, 
instead of it being "gain " for the Christian to die, it would be loss, 
immediate and immense. Oh it is a dreary dismal creed, against 
which I would solemnly warn. It cannot be found in the Bible, 
and no Christian Church of any name has ever held it. We learn 
from history that for the first three centuries of the Christian era, 
it was never once heard of, till a rhetorician named Arnobius began 
to teach it. Of this man the Church historian, Mosheim, says that 
he was " superficial in his knowledge of Christian doctrines, and 
commingled error with important truths." That is still the char- 
acteristic of those who uphold the annihilation dogma. When 
will men learn that their own speculations are unprofitable, and 
that it is best for them to abide by the " law and the testimony." 

Over thirty years ago a good but erratic man, called William 
Miller, aroused public attention in some parts of the United States 
and Canada to the subject of Christ's speedy coming and personal 
reign. He ventured to fix the precise date of the advent, and when 
the day passed and the Bridegroom still tarried, hundreds of his 
followers, disappointed in their hopes, fell back into avowed infi- 
delity. Hundreds more, carrying out the system of interpretation 
adopted by Miller, reached conclusions regarding the condition of 
the impenitent dead similar to those we have been examining, and 
which their leader would have rejected as unscriptural. Moreover, 
in its direct results this theory cannot fail to strengthen the hands 
of the impenitent and encourage them in their sins. Could we as- 
sure the wicked of non-existence hereafter, many of them would 
adopt the old Epicurean mottoes : " Let us eat and drink, for to- 
morrow we die," " A short life and a merry one." Could we tell 
the unsaved that if they do not repent and believe in Jesus, they 


will be blotted out of existence ; would that consideration either 
stop him in his rebellious career, or lead him in penitence to the 
Saviour's feet ? Assuredly not. Annihilation is the very thing 
they wished for, but hardly dared to believe it. The history of the 
French Revolution of 1799 furnishes fearful corroboration of the 
moral, or rather immoral, tendency of the dogma. " My abode will 
soon be in annihilation," said Danton, one of the chief actors in that 
terrible tragedy. Steeled and stupified by the thought, he con- 
demned hundreds to the guillotine without one pang of remorse. 
"Death is an eternal sleep," they said in those days, and so they 
pursued their plunderings, and debaucheries, and massacres, with 
infernal glee. Can we wonder at it ? Did not the system produce 
its legitimate results ? The Saviour has given us the test by which 
all false teachers and their doctrines are to be tried : " By their fruits 
ye shall know them." Materialistic and even sensual in its tenden- 
cies — we might well expect that this belief would, in process of 
time, degrade men to the level of the beasts, whose destinies they 

If the reader has followed our examination of the Word, he can 
only come to the conclusion, that when the wicked are driven away 
in their wickedness, they enter a condition of conscious suffering and 
of endless woe. Men of God strove to pluck them as " brands from 
the burning," but they refused their help and rushed on to their 
eternal ruin. As we think of what that ruin is, as we know these 
" terrors of the Lord," we would persuade sinners to " flee from the 
wrath to come." We would point out to them the Lamb of God, 
and press for serious and saving solution the unanswered and un- 
answerable question : " How shall we escape if we neglect so great 
salvation ?" We would remind them of that other awful question, 
proposed to the impenitent by the lowly and loving One of Nazar- 
eth himself : " How can ye escape the damnation of hell?" If the 
deep, dark gulf of despair have any terrors, remember that Christ 
died to save from it ; and that none shall hereafter know the " outer 
darkness," except as they refuse the " light of life." 


Men may speculate as they please, but sin is an infinite evil, 
and demands either an infinite satisfaction or an infinite punish- 
ment. That could be no light doom which the sacrifice of God's 
only-beloved Son alone could avert, which Jesus wept to think of, 
which Jesus died to save from. Ponder well, these words of the 
Saviour : " everlasting punishment," " eternal damnation," " undy- 
ing worm," " unquenchable fire." They breathe a terrible meaning 
and point to a tremendous reality. They should settle the matter. 
Flee from the wrath to come. " He that believeth on the Son hath 
everlasting life ; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see 
life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him."— Mark the language 
" ABIDETH on him," 

" While life, or thought, or being last, 
Or immortality endures." 


By the REV'D WILLIAM J. SHAW, M. A, LL. B., 

Methodist Theological College, Montreal. 

' ^W-^^^T IS a fearful thing to fall mio the nands of the livinf 

God," yet " the Lord is good to all, and His tender 
mercies are over all His works." Again, " Sodom and 
■^ TM^^ Gomorrha are set forth as examples suffering the ven- 
^=/i/ gence of eternal fire," yet '■ Gcd retaineth not His anger 

forever, because He delighteth in mercy." How to reconcile 
these apparently conflicting declarations is a problem it would be 
extreme narrowness to ignore. The enigma of existence gathers 
most of its difficulties from the mysterious blending of light and 
darkness, joy and sorrow, happiness and pain. The grim spectres 
of sin and suffering flit among the phantoms of our earthly joys, 
and it is not strange that, wondering at times what can be the 
source of evil, we say with Dante : 

"The world, indeed, is even so forlorn 
Of all good, as Thou speakest it, and so swarms 
With every evil. Yet, beseech thee, point 
The cause out to me, that myself may see 
And unto others shew it ; for in heaven 
One place it, and one on earth below." 


One thitTT js clear, we are in a world of evil. However it is to 
be accounted for, the mystery of suffering confronts us on ev^ery 
hand. " It is appointed unto men once to die ;" that is an article 
common to all creeds. If we can agree nowhere else, we find at 
the grave a place where Atheist, Agnostic, Polytheist, Deist and 
Christian are united in their assent to this universal truth. The 
Christian is no more obliged to explain this truth than his strange 
companions by that open sepulchre. Any one could state the 
problem, how came death and its concomitant sufferings ? and as 
this strange group would consider it, one would be as much respon- 
sible for its solution as another. The dark fact of human suffering 
sfcill stands all the same, whatever solution of the problem of its 
existence we may offer. But, passing the bounds of mere physical 
suffering, we discover that we are only on the confines of the gloomy 
domain of moral evil — a great dark empire of death reaching out 
so vast we feel certain it stretches away beyond the limits of time, 
and so blasts by its torments and ruins the victim of despair, that 
we feel the force of Pollock's description : 

"A being that had burned 
Half an eternity, and was to burn 
For evermore, he looked." 

But such tortures confront us even here and now. And their sul- 
phurous fumes we recognize amid the scenes of earth's crimes and 
cruelties, the reek of alcohol, the debasement of virtue, the oaths of 
torments already begun, the outrages of malice, the crushing of in- 
nocence, and the glowing hate of self, and of all beside. In all such 
scenes we find distinctly expressed three ideas : God, and justice, 
and hell. Were there no ray of hope piercing the gloom in this 
world : were there no Star of Bethlehem leading to light, and love, 
and purity ; were there no revelation from the Creator of His Gra- 
cious will, we would feel spell-bound by the bird of evil omen which 
the Poet of Despair has described : 


"Ghastly, grim, and ancient Raven, wandering from the nightly- 

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, 

And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the 

And my soul from out that shadow, that lies floating on the floor, 
Shall be lifted, — Nevermore." 

But the mind, wearied and worried by the great problem of the 
existence of evil, finds satisfaction and rest at last in the sure word 
of prophecy which God has given us, and finds satisfaction nowhere 
else. I take my stand on the foundation of a few central truths 
thus divinely revealed, which I do not intend to discuss: ist. God 
is. 2nd. The Bible is the only perfect mirror of His nature. 

" Here the whole Deity is known." 

3rd. The Divine nature is equally marked in relation to man by 
goodness and severity, love and justice, compassion and indigna- 
tion. The Bible is a stereoscope to blend these in perfect harmony. 
Look at them without the proper use of revelation, and you have 
the confused outlines of two pictures — a very distorted conception 
of God. But look with both eyes, with both mind and heart, 
through both lenses of Sinai and Calvary at both pictures, and you 
see God as He is, infinite in mercy and inflexible in justice. 4th. 
Sin or a violation of God s laws is sure to be punished. Taking 
our stand, then, upon the basis of these certain truths, we propose 
for our study, as far as our brief time will allow : ist. The doctrine 
of the punishment of sin, more especially as to the eternal duration 
of punishment. 2nd. Historical development of the doctrine of 
Retribution. 3rd. The objections urged against the teachings of 
the Bible on this subject. 


(i) A serious and intelligent man is not to be found to-day who 
will claim, as did the early Universalists, that sin and virtue are 
equitably punished and rewarded in this life. The fact that men 


of putrid character and vilest lives live in worldly ease and plent}', 
while the most virtuous noblemen of heaven have to struggle with 
want and adversity and indescribable tribulation, is a fact that even 
a very limited observation of human experience will readily recog- 
nize. The oldest writer of the Bible, from the depths of his deso- 
lation, was constrained to ask : " Wherefore do the wicked live 
become old ; yea are mighty in power? Their houses are safe 
from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them." The Psalmist 
Asaph tells us that the study of this problem was too painful for 
him, until, he says, he went into the Sanctuary of God, and under- 
stood the destiny of the wicked. Eternity needs to be taken into 
the account to perfect the equation. Neglecting to go into the 
sanctuary of serious and prayerful thought and of Divine teaching, 
we are in danger of adopting Dryden's words . 

"Yet sure the gods are good ; I would think so, 
If they would give me leave ; 
But virtue in distress and vice in triumph 
Make atheists of mankind." 

Our present life is manifestly not the scene of perfected rewards 
and punishments. Whatever views may be entertained on this sub- 
ject, all men are beginning to protest against the unreformed villain 
and his innocent victim entering the same heaven, and are de- 
manding that the former, in some place and in some way, be puri- 
fied from his wickedness before he can be admitted to the abode of 
the blessed. Paint as you may, in darkest colors, the sorrows of 
the wicked here ; represent them as the troubled waves which can- 
not rest ; be as eloquent as possible in depicting the gnawings of 
remorse, and their being pursued through all the mazes of pleasure 
by the horrid spectre of guilt ; still, when you have made the pic- 
ture as black as possible, one fact yet stands which overthrows the 
flimsy structure of Universalism — the fact that the innocent here 
suffer with the guilty, and often more than the guilty. If God be 
just, there must be compensation for this inequality in another 


(2) Ag'ain, I believe that the impenitent soul passes at death 
into a state of torture in Hades, from which it will pass at judgment 
into the torments of Gehenna. By Hades, as the derivation im- 
plies, I simply mean the invisible world or intermediate state occu- 
pied under different conditions respectively by saved and unsaved 
until the general judgment, for " God hath appointed a day in 
which He will judge the world." With this intermediate state I do 
not mean to associate any purgatorial or disciplinary agency to 
any of the respective degrees represented by Dorner, Farrar, Pusey, 
or the Roman Catholics. That there is implied, on the part of the 
lost, a consciousness of suffering in Hades, in opposition to the 
error of Psychopannychy, or sleep of the soul, is manifest from the 
case of Dives, whose torment must be regarded as anterior to the 
general judgment ; for his brothers, for whom he is solicitous, are 
represented by Christ as yet in a state of probation. 

(3) Again, I believe that the material elements of sulphur and 
fire, and all the concomitants of intensest physical agony in Gehenna, 
are to be understood in a figurative sense, even as in the the apoca- 
lyptic description of the celestial state there are used the highest 
types of joy and splendour, harp and song, and crown and gold, 
and emblazoned jewellery. This interpretation was adopted by 
Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, and John of Damascus. I have all 
respect for many wise and good men who have interpreted these 
things literally, but I think I am not mistaken when I say that a 
figurative interpretation is the one seriously entertained by the 
great majority of Protestant ministers to-day. Even the Roman 
Catholic theologian, Perrone, notwithstanding the materializing in- 
terpretation so common in his Church, says: "This alone is matter 
of faith, that there is a hell. All the rest, as to the place or nature 
of the punishment, are not matters of faith. For, as Petau says 
judiciously after Vasquez, ' By no decree of the Church, nor in any 
Synod, has it been defined, viz', either that the fire is corporeal, or 
that there is a place under the earth where the demons and the 


lost are tormented.' " By this method of interpretation I do not 
think there is implied any mitigation of the sufferings of the lost. 
On the contrary, as symbols are always less than the things 
signified, if the agony of physical burning be so intense — the most 
acute we know of — how much more intense will the reality be, as 
represented by " the worm that dieth not and the fire that cannot 
be quenched ?" 

(4) Again, I believe that every lost soul is in a state of con- 
firmed enmity to God and opposition to His law. The doctrine of 
universal tendency to permanence of character is not new with 
Joseph Cook ; for, as far back as 1702, Archbishop King, in his 
" Origin of Evil,'' reasons that " as our limbs, when distorted, be- 
come incapable of their normal action, so by persistency in sin we 
become utterly incapable of reformation." This doctrine is not 
without some serious difficulties. Only this point in it we observe 
at present, viz., that with the cessation of probationary privileges 
and influences, the soul, whether previously confirmed in sin or not, 
now of necessity is helplessly under its sway. Of course, this view 
implies a complete rejection of the Pelagian idea that the human 
will in the lost has the power of submitting to God and of origin- 
ating, when unaided, holy volitions. To my judgment, the Scrip- 
tural doctrine commends itself of the moral impotency of man. It 
follows that if the supernatural aids provided for all by a universal 
atonement are withdrawn, the soul reaches the -point mentioned of 
confirmed and irreversible antagonism to God and to all that is 

Everything then hinges upon the question, do these supernatural 
aids terminate at death ? That they do is clearly manifest from the 
fact that this is made the whole ground ot appeal to the sinner, so 
far as his peril is concerned. Says the Wise Man, " There is no 
work, nor device, nor wisdom in the grave wither thou goest," and 
therefore he appeals to us, " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do 
it with thy might." This seems like the cry of desperation, as if 


the chance of rescue were so brief that the one opportunity now 
offering were the only one ; and so, as with terrific earnestness, 
Paul calls to our careless world, " Behold, now is the accepted time ; 
behold, now is the day of salvation." There would be no sense nor 
honesty in this mode of appeal were it not for this solemn consid- 
eration, " They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.'' 
The Apocalypse, whenever written, and whatever interpretation we 
may give to its mysterious predictions, most certainly refers in ITS 
closing chapter to the consumation of all things, when " they that 
have right to the tree of life shall enter in through the gates into 
the city. For without are dogs (i. e., spiritual Gentiles, the uncir- 
cumcised in heart,) and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murder- 
ers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Like 
the awful knell of the darkest doom to men responsible, guilty, anS 
lost, even this gospel of mercy, in its closing passages, has to say, 
" He that is unjust let him be unjust still, and he which is filthy let 
him be filthy still." The gulf that separates the lost from the re- 
dsemed is described by the Saviour as a "great gulf fixed," and 
equally fixed are the characters on each side" of it. That this im- 
passable gulf will at some future age be bridged, there is not in 
Scripture the slightest ray of hope. If such should ever be done, 
the prophet of Nazareth might indeed be suspected of decidedly 
misleading, by his teachings, an immense number of the most hon- 
est and competent enquirers after truth. Both Hades and Gehenna 
I regard, with reference to the finally impenitent, as a state of con- 
firmed enmity to God. 

(5) Again. I consider that in Gehenna there are constant viola- 
tions of the divine law, which themselves merit their consequent 
retribution. I accept the statement of an able English Universalist, 
Mr. Vidler — " A rational creature cannot be without law either in 
heaven, earth, or hell." Sin is sin as much in hell as on earth, as 
much a million years hence as to-day ; and the " cursed " that will 
be driven at the day of judgment " into everlasting fire " are such 


because they are sinners deliberately committing themselves to an 
eternal career of sin. Christ refers to them in His declaration, " He 
that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgive- 
ness, but shall be in danger of eternal sin," (Mark iii. 29). This 
reading, it is well known, is sustained by the leading uncial and 
many cursive MSS. and versions, and implies that to "quench the 
Spirit " and persist to the last in opposing the gracious influences 
of heaven's rescuing mercy, is to abandon one's self to an eternal 
rebellion against God. I know not how such a condition of antag- 
onism to God's law can escape the righteous indignation of the 
Most High. Nemesis, the daughter of Night, silent and swift of 
foot, hovers upon the track of the wrong-doer, pursuing him with 
certain vengeance, whether it be in the fall of the angels, the sins 
of earth, or the crimes of hell. Canon Farrar, in his sermon on 
" The Consequences of Sin," depicts most faithfully and forcibly^the 
certain punishment of the transgressor. I think this law will oper- 
ate eternally. 

(6) Again, I believe that the statement, though plausible, is 
misleading, that sin is its own hell. Marlowe, in his Faustus, 
expresses it : 

"Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed 
In one self place ; but where we are is hell ; 
And where hell is, there we must ever be." 

I admit that sinners are punished in part by sin as well as for 
sin ; but to maintain that sin is its own and only punishment, is to 
ignore the clearest operations of punitive justice both in God and 
man, and to deny simple facts. If sin brings its own punishment, 
how is it that the more a man sins the less really he is punished ? 
Scripture makes frequent reference to those having their conscience 
seared with a hot iron, " who being past feeling, give themselves 
over to work all uncleanness ;" whom " God gives over to a repro- 
bate mind, and sends them a strong delusion that they should 



believe a lie." The principle we are opposing-, so dear to Latitud- 
inarians, and inspiring much of their eloquence, is simply absurd. 
Parents, masters, and rulers, all reject it. Society does not say of 
a villainous murderer, Poor fellow ! he has had punishment enough 
in the ever-haunting spectre of that white face of his innocent vic- 
tim and in the lashings of his tormenting conscience. No ! Society 
demands that, being convicted, he should be judicially punished, 
and he is hanged ! I regard hell as a state of punishment as well 
as of remorse ; and punishment implies legal process, the sentence 
of law executed by legal authority whether the culprit's conscience 
be seared or tender. The terms employed in Scripture to repre- 
sent the sufferings of the lost, imply something positive and objec- 
tive to their remorse. They are " cast into it," they are " tormented 
in it." "It is the furnace of fire," " the lake of fire." These are 
allusions quite foreign to the self-acting of the soul. " The stripes," 
"the horrible tempest," "the taking vengeance," "the tormentors," 
"indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish." This all means 
suffering from without. This penalty is not personal revenge on 
the part of God in the sense of vindictiveness, but it is the neces- 
sary operation of divine law, the cessation of which means that God 
ceases to be, Paul tells us that " the Lord Jesus shall be revealed 
from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengence on them that know 
not God, who shall be PUNISHED with everlasting destruction " 
(i Thess. i. 9) ; and Peter tells us that the unjust are reserved 
" unto the day of judgment, to be punished " (2 Peter ii. 9). The 
Gnostic view of the third century, represented by the school of 
Valentine, held that divine justice simply means righteousness or 
integrity and that the idea of punitive justice is directly opposed 
to divine benevolence. This idea was revived by the Sozzini in the 
sixteenth century, and among many of their followers to-day it is 
held in high favor. Only one alternative is possible on the accept- 
ance of this view, and that is the rejection of the authority of the 
Scriptures ; for the wildest and most reckless exegesis cannot elim- 


inate from them the awful utterance, " Vengeance is mine ; I will 
repay, saith the Lord." Indeed, it is not clear which is the more, 
terrific, nature or the Bible, in its utterance that violation of law 
must invariably be punished. 

(7) Again, I believe that the number of the lost will be small in 
comparison with the number of the saved. Canon Farrar's works, 
" Eternal Hope " and " Mercy and Judgment," in my opinion, owe 
nine-tenths of their popularity and destructive influence to attribu- 
ting to the orthodox three views that are for the most part mons- 
trous, and are doomed to universal rejection by the Church. One of 
these is the doctrine of reprobation ; another, is the possible damna- 
tion of infants ; and the third, is the view which he perpetually 
attributes to defenders of the Scriptural doctrine of retribution, 
more especially in his sermon on " Are there few that be saved ?" 
viz., that but a small company, an elect few, constitute the re- 
deemed, while hell is teeming with an immense majority of the 
human race enduring the most intense agony of corporeal suffering. 
I reject and spurn these monstrous errors as a blot upon God's 
character and a disgrace to Historical Theology ; and I am per- 
suaded that I am not alone here. I think I know where at least 
35,000 ministers may be found, leaders in the most aggressive form 
of Christianity the world has known, who resent with contempt the 
imputation of any of these views ; and, in my opinion, the great 
majority of Protestant ministers outside of Methodism, are equally 
agreed in their rejection. Referring now to the third of them, I 
hold that the disposition of the Church is not to represent the re- 
deemed as a favored coterie about the divine throne, an oasis in 
the great desert of moral ruin in the universe. " The Church," it 
has been beautifully said by Dr. Pusey, " has its long list of saints ; 
it has not inserted one name in the catalogue of the damned." 
Many go so far as to hold that the lost, including men and angels, 
will be in proportion to the saved, as incarcerated criminals are to 
law-abiding citizens in our community. Without committing 


myself to what this last comparison implies, I am satisfied that the 
great majority of our race will be found among the redeemed. 

I have thus stated seven elements of the doctrine of the punish- 
ment of sin, as they commend themselves to my judgment : ist. 
It must reach beyond this life ; 2nd. Its tortures begin at death, in 
Hades or the Intermediate State ; 3rd. It does not necessarily im- 
ply corporeal sufferings ; 4th. It implies confirmed antagonism to 
God ; 5th. It implies in the other world a career of sin, itself mer- 
iting corresponding punishmefit ; 6th. It is more than remorse — it 
is a positive and judicial infliction of punitive suffering ; 7th. Only 
a minority of the race will be consigned to such torment. 

(8) The great question still remains, in case the above views be 
accepted. What Scripture evidence is there of the eternal continu- 
ance of this punishment? If the admission of an opponent could 
settle this question, it is closed at once with the statements b\' 
Theodore Parker, in his published sermons : " I believe that Jesu -; 
Christ taught eternal torment ; I do not accept it on his authority." 
The candour of these words is only surpassed by their impious 

Without repetition of what I have said in another connection, 
the eternity of the torments of hell, I remark, is evidenced by the 
cessation at death of all probationary opportunities of salvation. 
This is implied in the exhortation, " Pass the time of your sojourn- 
ing here in fear," " Redeeming the time," " Lay hold on eternal life," 
" Seek the Lord while He may be found," " While it is said. To-day, 
if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." After death 
comes what ? the judgment. This we know with certainty, but of 
a POST MORTEM probation we know nothing, absolutely nothing, 
from either nature or the Bible. The remark of Baxter, in his trea- 
tise on the Christian Religion, is here very appropriate : " How 
foolish a thing it is to go from the light of a plain revelation and 
scripture, and argue from our dark uncertainties." 


Again, all Scripture that represents the Atonement of Christ as 
the only means of the restoration of the sinner, absolutely precludes 
any efficacy attaching to a supposed POST MORTEM discipline 
which does not belong to the power of the Cross. In other words, 
this view I have mentioned, if correct, supersedes entirely the neces- 
sity of an atonement, and the whole scheme of grace. It makes 
the restoration of the lost a matter of personal merit, and the great- 
est blunder in the government of the universe was when the divine 
Christ went, unnecessarily, through the agonies of His passion, to 
save those who can as well be saved by a brief period of discipline 
in hell. Heaven itself would be amazed at the appearance, after 
some period relatively brief, among the ransomed throng, of those 
who have served out their time in torment, and who now come, 
not " with their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb," but with 
the smell of purgatorial fires upon them ; who, poor abjects, have 
been conquered, not by love, but by that oft abused consideration, 
the fear of torment. How startling to all such dreams and delu- 
sions comes the word, like a thunder crash, from Jehovah's lips : 
"If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of 
the truth, there remaincth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain 
fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall 
devour the adversaries.'* 

It may seem strange to some that the teri'der, loving, gentle 
Saviour is the great announcer of the solemn truth of man's danger 
of eternal ruin. Says the Rev. Dr. Hamilton, in his very able 
Congregational Lecture in England, in 1847 : " It cannot escape our 
notice, it cannot but awaken our surprise to find more terrible des- 
criptions of future punishment in the teachings of Christ than in 
the former dispensations, where they might seem more appropriate. 
We are prepared for the blasts of the trumpet, which ring out from 
the precipices of Sinai ; for its * blackness, and darkness, and tem- 
pest.' We are prepared for the curses of Ebal. But when we enter 
this dispensation, we await the meekness and gentleness of Christ. 


We expect an infinite tenderness, and we find it. He pleads to 
weeping, He agonizes to blood. Yet what voice ever told so much 
of hell? He reiterates illustration after illustration, He heaps 
image upon image, He adds warning to warning. Like successive 
and loudering thunder-peals these repetitions roll along until 
startled sinners are made to realize the terrors of the place ' Where 
their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.' " These last 
words are quoted by Christ from Isaiah Ixvi. 24, where they mani- 
festly refer to the ungodly, as also in the apocryphal book of Judith, 
xvi. 21. "For he will give fire and worms into their flesh, that 
they may burn and feel for ever, where their worm dieth not and 
the fire is not quenched." 

The torments referred to by Isaiah are associated with the 
Valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna. The fires of this valley were first 
kindled for idolatry ; afterwards, to debase the scene of moral pol- 
lution, the refuse of the city of Jerusalem was heaped there and 
burnt ; and so, says Isaiah, at the very end of his prophecies, after 
describing the new heavens and the new earth, " They shall go forth 
and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed 
against me, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be 
quenched." At the time of Christ, this geographical term, with its 
terrible associations, was used to represent the eternal torments of 
the wicked. For a full statement of this point, and discussions as 
to the evidence of the Targums and Jewish testimony in general, I 
can confidently refer to Bishop Merrill's " New Testament Idea of 
Hell," chapters x.-xiii., and to Dr. Pusey's "What is Faith?" pp. 
47-96. He, indeed, would be a "Son of Thunder" who would 
preach the terrors of the law as fully and as faithfully as did Christ. 
In His merciful incarnation He thus appealed to the obdurate : 
" Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the dam- 
nation of hell?" In His judicial glory He declares He will say to 
them, " Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." The entire Bible 
harmonizes with such teachings : " The smoke of the torment of 


the wicked ascendeth up for ever." " They have no rest day nor 
night." " The wicked shall dwell with everlasting burnings." " The 
beast and false prophet shall be cast into a lake of fire, and shall 
be tormented for ever and ever." And just here notice the signifi- 
cant words of Jesus, " the Lord who weigheth the spirits," relative 
to Judas, •' It had been good for that man if he had never been 
born." Nay, Divine Teacher, we cannot believe Thee, if Restora- 
tionism be true, for if, after the lapse of ages, heaven be gained, it 
would be " good for that man " that he ever saw the light. His 
would be later but, after all, eternal glory that would counterpoise 
any conditions, that would repay the torments of the lowest depths 
of hell. But, alas ! to the wicked is reserved " the mist of darkness 
for ever," and " the blackness of darkness for ever," " suffering the 
vengeance of eternal fire." " They shall be tormented day and 
night for ever." Anticipating these fuller revelations of the New 
Testament, from the Old there come the significant words, " They 
that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting 
life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt," harmonizing 
with Christ's words, " These shall go away into everlasting punish- 
ment, and the righteous into everlasting life." 

I know the interpretation that Restorationists have given to the 
word KOLASIS here as if it meant only disciplinary suffering, but I 
also know that the same word may be consistently used as a syn- 
onym for TIMORIA or punitive suffering in the only three other places, 
where it occurs in the New Testament, and forty times in the LXX., 
is the word so used. Among classical writers so employing the 
word there may be mentioned, E. G., Plutarch, who was born in the 
apostolic period, and fifty times does he use the words KOLOZO or 
KOLASIS, as involving TIMORIA or the judicial sufferings of the 
wicked. Prof Sophocles, recently deceased, a Greek lexicographer 
and distinguished Professor at Yale College, in his Glossary of later 
and Byzantine Greek defines KOLASIS as " punishment, torment, and 
damnation," referring for his authorities to the New Testament, to 



the apostolic institutions, and the Greek Fathers. It it interesting- 
to enquire just here what disciplinary design, in any case, can 
appear in this KOLASIS or punishment that awaits the wicked if it 
be everlasting-. 

This leads me to the enquiry as to the meaning of the adjective 
AIONIOS or its equivalents, found in so many of the passages 1 have 
quoted relative to the eternity of perdition. There is a general 
readiness to recognize the adjective AIDIOS as being derived from 
AEI, ever, but the contention of some Restorationists is that AIO- 
NIOS is not so derived. It would be a convenience if they would 
tell us what is its derivation. Aristotle is probably a competent 
witness here. He says, De Ccelo i. 9: "The boundary that 
i icloses and comprehends all time and space is AION, a continuous 
existence immortal and divine, deriving- its name from AEI EINAI. 
I think we may safely challenge any opponent to show cause why 
AIONIOS should not be rendered EVERLASTING. But Canon Farrar 
defines AION as simply " something above and beyond time," 
" an age, an indefinite period, long or short." That is because it is 
not said when it will end or that it positively will last for ever, there- 
fore it will not last for ever. In other words, because it has no 
end, therefore it must have an end. 

I really cannot discover from searching the views of various 
Restorationists on this critical point, that their argument has any 
more validity than what I have indicated. I know how we are re- 
minded of our frequent use of such expressions, eternal rocks, moun- 
tains, etc., and the Poet Laureate has befriended the Restorationists 
by stamping his authority upon the newly-coined word aeonian, as 
he speaks of " the aeonian hills." With reference to all such uses 
of the word AIONIOS, I think the view of Moses Stuart, in his dis- 
cussion on Future Punishment, is incontestable, viz., that this ad- 
jective implies such a perpetuity of existence as is possible in the 
nature of the subject ; that eternal hills means, for example, hills 
that will last as long as it is possible for hills to last, and " eternal 


punlsliincnt " means punishment that will last as Ion j^ as the im- 
mortal soul being punished can last, that is, for ever. I have not 
time to apply this to the various instances cited from classical wri- 
ters in which these words AION and AIONIOS occur, but I think the 
principle stated will stand the test of such an examination. In the 
New Testament the word AION is used ninety-five times, and 
always in harmony with this principle ; sixteen times in praise of 
God ; five, relative to the divine existence ; four, the kingdom of 
Christ ; one, God's word ; eighteen, as " ever," with the negative 
"never;" seven, an indefinite period in the past; twenty-nine, in 
the sense of age or world, either present or future, Jewish or Chris- 
tian ; nine, future happiness of the righteous ; and five, future pun- 
ishment of the wicked, viz., Mark iii. 29 ; 2 Peter ii. 17 ; Jude 13 ; 
Rev. xiv. II, xix. 3, xx. 10. A similar analysis, showing the use 
of the adjective AIONIOS in the sixty-six passages in which it occurs, 
strongly establishes the view that has been stated, fifty-one instan- 
ces having reference to the everlasting benefits of the atonement, 
and six to the endless perdition of the lost, viz.. Matt xix. 8, xxv. 
41-46 ; Mark iii. 29 ; 2 Thess. i. 9 ; and Jude 7. Dorner, in the 3rd 
Part of his ESCHATOLOGY, admits that AION or AIONIOS, in the 
very nature of the case, in reference to the eternal life of believers, 
signifies " endless duration." I know not why it should signify less 
concerning the lost. 

Canon Farrar confidently asks, why, if punishment be everlast- 
ing,was not some more certain word than AIONIOS used to describe 
interminable ? Let us see how these would serve. Paul uses this 
last word in one place (i Tim. i. 4), and what is the instance? Just 
this, endless — GENEALOGIES ! Had punishment been generally 
described as APERANTOS, perhaps Canon Farrar would have held 
more orthodox views ; but some one would be assailing him with 
the question, how could APERANTOS mean everlasting, when Paul 
applies this very word with a necessarily limited sense, to "genea- 



logics?" Principal Bartlctt, of Dartmouth College, has clearly 
shown that the words used by the Holy Spirit are (a) appropriate, 
(b) well known, and (c) apprehensible modes of expressing the eter- 
nity of perdition, and that the very words suggested by Canon 
Farrar are (a) infrequent in classic Greek, and almost unknown in 
the Hellenistic, two of them never appearing in the LXX., and the 
third but once, and (b) not so decisive as the words employed. 

I began the discussion of this point with the admission of Theo- 
dore Parker ; I close it with the following admission, made two 
years ago by Dr. Ellis, a distinguished Unitarian teacher in the 
United States, in the presence of a numerous assembly at Boston : 
" Fifty years of study, reflection, and reading, devoted chiefly to 
the Bible and literature relating to it, have brought me to the con- 
clusion that it, as a whole, is an orthodox book. It teaches what 
is called orthodoxy. The immense majority of its readers, by fol- 
lowing the natural sense of the book, by taking it literally, by 
keeping to the impressions made by its principal texts, find ortho- 
doxy in it. It is only by means of forced explanations, and by 
skilful distinctions that we liberals come to find in it anything else. 
The sects called Evangelical are evidently in the right when they 
maintain that their views of the Bible and of its doctrine establish 
a profound distinction between their faith and ours." I know of 
no logical alternative but to accept the doctrine I have stated, or 
reject with it the authority of Holy Scriptures. 


I very much regret that limit of time deprives me of the pleas- 
ure of tracing the history of the doctrine of Retribution. I must 
simply be contented with stating its modifications. 

I. Restorationism, originating in the third century in the school 
of Alexandria, represented by Clement, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, 
Gregory of Nazianzum, Schliermacher, Neander, F. VV. Maurice, 
Farrar, Kingsley, Dale, Brown, Parker, and Allen. In here citing 


Farrar's name, I do not for^^et that in his Mercy and Judcrmcnt he 
disowns being a Rcstorationist, and says, while claiming to be in 
substantial agreement with Dr. Pusey and Cardinal Newman, " I 
expressly stated my belief that there was a hell, and that I could 
not teach that all would ultimately be delivered from it." This 
disclaimer illustrates the honesty of the man, and at the same time 
is an illustration of the illogical nature of much of his work. As 
Restoration ism seems to be defended by a strong array of names, 
it is necessary to observe that, on the very clear showing of Dr. 
Pusey, Origenism was specifically condemned by the 5th Ecumeni- 
cal Council ; and Hagenbach classes it heresies in his re- 
marks (vol. ii. p. 376) : " This doctrine made its appearance only in 
connection with OTHER HERETICAL notions, and especially with 
the otherwise anti-Origenistic Millenarianism." Philip Schaff, in 
an able article on Studies in Eschatology, in the last October num- 
ber of the " Presbyterian Review," says : " Since the middle of th2 
sixth century the doctrine of the final salvation of all men has been 
regarded as a heresy by all except by the Universalists." 

2. The Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, originating with 
Augustine, and established as a dogma by Gregory I., in the sixth 

3. The Anglo-Catholic view of the intermediate state, repre- 
sented by Dr. Pusey in his sermons and in his very valuable work 
on "What is of Faith as to Everlasting Punishment?" and which 
looks somewhat to the Romanist view in associating with the inter- 
mediate state the moral improvement of belivers as preparatory to 
their entrance into eternal glory. 

4. The Reformed Theology expressed in the Westminister 
Confession which, in its opposition to Romanism, goes so far as to 
reject the whole doctrine of the intermediate state, ev-en in the 
form in which it is held by Evangelical Anglicans and Methodists. 

5. The views of Dorner as to a roST MORTEM probation when 
all the departed heathen, and others comparativeh- irresponsible 


here, shall have definite opportunity of accepting or rejecting Christ. 

6. Universalism in America, in its earlier, more serious, and 
Calv.inistic form, in which the sovereignty of God and the irresist- 
ibleness of grace were associated with the doctrine of the univer- 
sality of the atonement, represented before 1790, by Relly and 

7. Universalism in its later and looser form. 

8. The view of the Annihilation of the wicked, and with this 
the doctrines of Psychopannychy, or Sleep of the Soul, and Con- 
ditional Immortality, represented by John Locke, Rothe, and 
Archbishop Whately. 

9. The peculiar view of Rev. G, W, Olver, in the Fernley Lec- 
ture, in England, in 1878, that the lost spirits will have no bodies, 
and will have no fellowship with any being, but each incorporeal 
spirit will spend eternity in solitude and despair. 

10. The thought of Joseph Cook, in 1882, that in the case of 
multitudes who die without seeming to reach any permanence of 
character, either bad or good, the experience of death so quickens 
their mental and moral powers, that they fully realize the vast im- 
portance of the issues before them, and, in most instances, submit 
themselves, he thinks, to God, and trust in Christ ; or else they 
abandon themselves to confirmed opposition to God. This view is 
designed to give some reply to the objection against the doctrine 
of permanence of character, that in by far the most instances, to all 
appearance, there is no permanence of character reached in this life. 
(See very able answer to Cook, by Dr. Buckley, in the New York 
" Christian Advocate.") 

11. The view of Bishop Martensen, a Lutheran bishop of Den- 
mark, recently deceased, that the words of Scripture relating to 
punishment clearly favor the doctrine of its being everlasting ; but 
that there is in revelation what he called an antinomy, or theologi- 
cal paradox, similar to that between divine sovereignty and human 
freedom, in the solution of which he tended to Restorationism. 


12. The view of Archbishop Tillotson, that, though God threat- 
ens to punish eternally, He does not intend to carry out the threat. 
To this Bledsoe well replies : " We shall only say that if the 
Almighty really undertook to deceive the world for its own good, 
it is a pity He did not take the precaution to prevent the Arch- 
bishop from detecting the cheat, and that He suffered the secret to 
get into the possession of one who has so indiscreetly published 
it to the whole world." 

As we are only now in the formative period of dogma in the 
department of Eschatology, it is hoped that where so many good 
men differ, some Athanasius or Augustine or Anselm may appear 
to aid us in reaching more uniformity of view out of all these dis- 
cordant elements. In the meantime we will do wisely, as believers 
did before Athanasius, to cling to the simple teachings of Scripture, 
and this will determine the scientific form of the dogma when it is 


In stating, as I will try to state impartially, the objections to 
the Scriptural doctrine which I have presented, I must premise that 
to very much that is contained in revelation, both the mind and 
heart of the unrenewed man is directly opposed. This especially 
relates to the enormity of sin and the justice of God, and appears 
in the first objection I specify, viz. : 

(i) That there is no equitable proportion between the sinner's 
transgression and his eternal punishment ; that as John Quincy 
Adams is reported to have expressed it, " It is impossible for a man 
to commit sin enough in this life to deserve eternal damnation." 
The objection is otherwise stated that, at the worst, life in most 
instances is but a series of blunders, into which men inadvertently 
fall, and it is contended very plausibly that between a moralist and 
imperfect Christian, between a good sinner and a bad saint, there 
is not enough difterence to justify their diverging destinies in etcr- 


nity. Underlying this objection, thus variously presented, there is a 
manifest misconception of the nature of sin. The demerit of sin, 
in the first place, is not to be measured by the time spent in its 
commission. One man may condense into a moment's execution 
more infernal malice, more of the quintessence of vice than another 
man exhibits in the sinful career of a lifetime. What Gregory 
XVI. said, in condemning a liberal work of the priest Lamennais 
in 1834: " It is small in compass but enormous in wickedness," is 
true indeed of every sin. Suppose a man pulls up but one rail 
from a track just before the express train is due, and then retires 
to witness the crash, does he not deserve to be hanged as a villian 
as much as if he spent hours in tearing up the whole track ? 

The measure of the desert of sin is not mathematical, but moral. 
Sin is necessarily momentary, but its consequences are vast ; not, 
given so many years of sin there shall be so many years of penalty; 
but given the offence of high treason against God, the highest pos- 
sible crime known in the universe; of setting at defiance the law 
of the Supreme Being, and of insulting and rejecting the divine 
Saviour, the representative of the majesty of that law, who, with 
His hands dripping with His own life-blood, offers us a free pardon 
so dearly bought. For such a one there is forgiveness neither in 
this world nor the world to come. Of such the Saviour said, " He 
that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God 
abideth on him." As to the mere " moralist," compared with the 
dying and penitent criminal, I think there is an infinite difference 
in favor of the latter. He at last grounds his weapons of rebellion. 
The other, on the supposition before us, does not. He illustrates 
what our guilty, despairing world so much needs to know, that 
"whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall find mercy." The 
other, in the circumstances supposed, is guilty of the great crim; 
against God before described. If he is not, then there is, of course, 
hope in his death, and all the more hope because of his morality. 
I decline, however, to test the doctrine before us by applying it in 


any judicial way to individuals, for who made us to be judges of 
hun:ian destiny, or to deal judicially with individual cases? It has 
been said, " This is too sacred a region for the vulgar tread of a 
mere human curiosity, or the idle play of a mere human sympathy." 
This one thing settles my mind calmly and satisfactorily, with ref- 
erence to the seeming mystery of human distiny, " The Judge of 
all the earth will do right." I am certain no one will go to hell by 
whom its torments are not deserved. 

(2) Again, to the Scriptural doctrine of Retribution there is the 
objection based upon a defective view of divine benevolence ; and 
it is said that any father that would make such a use of his power 
over his children as God makes of His omnipotence, in the eternal 
punishment of the wicked, would be regarded by men as a monster. 
It is just here to be observed, that God is now doing, and has been 
doing ever since the creation of man, what no earthly father would 
do, and what no earthly government would allow him to do, even 
if he had the disposition. What father would drown his children 
as God drowned the old world ? What father would burn his 
children as God burned His in the destruction of Sodom and Gom- 
orrah? What father would make his children suffer from such 
woes and sickness and pain and death, as beset our world ? And 
yet God is good, indeed so good, says the opponent, that " God is 
love," and nothing else. 

What is thought to be a crucial test here is thrust upon us by 
Farrar, with a skilful ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM, thus : Would it 
not really give us some satisfaction to find out in eternity that we 
were mistaken as to the scope of divine mercy, and that the pun- 
ishment of sin is not everlasting ? I reply, that anything I find 
with certainty concerning God, at any time, whatever it is, gives 
me satisfaction ; and, therefore, I depend upon His perfect justice, 
wisdom, and mercy, as I receive from His word the doctrine of 
eternal punishment, so clearly and certainly revealed. Does a child, 
in a well-regulated household, derive satisfaction in discovering that 


his delinquent brother is not punished as threatened ? Possibly he 
does ; but if so, it is because he fails to realize the importance of 
discipline. If he is old enough, and competent to realize the im- 
portance of this, he feels that order, and therefore happiness, in that 
home are most seriously imperilled As a child of God, depending 
in my weakness upon His wisdom and goodness, I tell you I derive 
no satisfaction from man contradicting God when He says, " The 
transgressor shall be distroyed forever, and the enemies of the Lord 
shall be as the fat of lambs." On the contrary, I feel that in the 
burning fury of the Almighty against sin, there is a guarantee of 
order in the universe, which is one of the best pledges of divine 
goodness for the welfare of His creatures. But, it is said, is not 
God so merciful, that if a sinner repent in hell God would receive 
him? In the abstract I believe that for the sake of Christ He 
would ; but the sinner will not repent that he might have life, and 
that is just why he is there ; and the certainty that he will not, is 
becoming greater through successive ages of eternity. To suppose, 
however, that a lost soul repents, is to suppose that he is not in 
hell at all ; for, as we have already seen, hell is a state of confirmed 
antagonism to God and to good. But, persists the objector, the 
only object of punishment is reformation, and an excess of punish- 
ment above this is unjust. It is what Jeremy Bentham has called 
"so much suffering in waste." The objector may be just a little 
confused here. Does he mean the reformation of the offender only, 
or the moral improvement of society in general? If he means the 
former, he is manifestly forgetting that penalties are very often 
inflicted, in human law, which can have no reformatory design upon 
the criminal. The culprit who is hanged, I suppose, is not very 
much reformed as a member of society. 

If the thought be as to the welfare of the universe, who can say 
that the eternal punishment of the wicked is not a necessity ; and 
that this little planet, favored as probably no other province in the 
great empire of God has been, by the incarnation of His Son, should 


not supply to the universe the spectacle of a minority of our guilty 
race with devils suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, as a warning 
and as a proof that it is " a fearful thing to fall into the hands of 
the living God." But is it so, that when punishment ceases to be 
corrective it ceases to be just ? Then it follows that men with a 
seared conscience, and with hands dyed in human blood, should go 
free, for they are too inveterate to be reformed, and all punishment 
that does not reform is cruel. Criminals, too far gone to be re- 
deemed, should suffer nothing at the hands of God or man, for no 
punishment will reform them, and all punishment that does not 
reform is cruel. There is no encouraging evidence that the devil 
and his angels are being reformed, for " the devil sinneth from the 
beginning." If they are irrecoverably lost, their sufferings are un- 
just, for all punishment that does not reform is cruel. In the apo- 
calyptic vision we read that when the fifth angel poured out his 
vial of wrath, the wicked " gnawed their tongues for pain, and blas- 
phemed the God of Heaven because of their pains and their sores, 
and repented not of their deeds." This harmonizes with the verdict 
of history, that punishment, in most instances, does not reform but 
harden. Yet it is just and necessary. The whole objection before 
us, based on the divine benevolence, simply loses sight of other at- 
tributes of God which are of equal importance. The world needs 
to be told that God is good ; but to-day it needs more to be told 
that God is just, and to be made to 

" Feel how awful goodness is." 

"Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God ;" or, as it is 
in the Genevan Bible, and Cranmer's, and Tyndale's, "the kindness 
and rigorousness of God." This clause contains the substance o^ 
the gospel. 

(3) Again, it is objected that if hell be a state of confirmed sin- 
fulness, it makes sin there a necessity, and consequently it loses its 
criminality, The objector seeks to betray us into necessitarianism, 


whicii we, of course, reject. God dooms no man to sin, either here 
or hereafter. It is not so much that the soul will sin forever because 
it is consigned to hell, but rather it is consigned to hell because, in 
its own freedom, it wills to sin forever. Adam's offence entails cor- 
ruption upon the human race, but the human race is in no wise 
responsible for Adam's offence, and therefore not for the inherited 
corruption ; but the doomed spirit entails upon himself in eternity 
a state of confirmed antagonism to God by his own choice in life. 
The choice is his own, not Adam's, not the Almighty's, but his own, 
and here is surely a sufficient basis for his perpetual responsibility 
to God for the consequences of his choice. This state of confirmed 
sinfulness is sometimes reached even in this world ; still, it is not a 
state of absolutely necessary sinfulness, for it might have been 
avoided. Sin ceases to be sin when it is necessitated. Jerry 
McAuley's testimony, in the Water Street Mission, is very wise and 
relevant. He says : " I used to ask. Why had God made me a thief 
and a rascal, while He gave other people money and fun ? And 
then it came across me that He hadn't done one o' these things. It 
was me that brought myself to what I was." 

(4) The next objection I notice is based on the social relation- 
ships that may have subsisted between the saved and the lost in 
this life, an objection which, I confess, seems at first sight very 
serious. Says the objector, " Do you tell me that a father is going 
to be perfectly happy, singing psalms in heaven, when he knows 
that his son is enduring the torments of eternal damnation ?" I 
readily admit — I glory in the fact — that no religion condemns and 
abhors like the Christian religion those who are " without natural 
affection," but the ground I take is, that the same divine book con- 
tains these three things : Due regard for the bonds of kindred, the 
unalloyed happiness of the redeemed, and the eternal sufferings of 
the lost. Reconcile them as we may, they are all there. I have 
no more right to reject the last than the first. I presume that the 
redeemed spirit is so completely in harmony with God that he finds 


perfect satisfaction in all that God does. To say that I so love my 
sovereign that I would indignantly resist any attempt made upon 
her life or her authority, though the regicide were my own child, is 
to suppose a circumstance by no means remarkable. Now, if the 
Sovereign opposed be the Supreme Ruler, the fountain of all good, I 
can conceive it possible that the redeemed spirit may be so lost in 
God, as to regard with perfect satisfaction the execution of His 
judgments, whomsoever they may crush. This very faith makes 
me the more earnest here, that my child be not among those upon 
whom shall descend like an avalanche the terrors of those judg- 
ments. But let us look into the matter a little further. Are the 
angels perfectly happy ? Yes. But how can that be, when, accord- 
ing to the Restorationist, for a thousand or a million of years their 
lost friends are in torment? The thought that these torments shall 
terminate may affect the degree of distress for the lost, if such the 
saved at all have, but assuredly cannot remove the distress itself on 
the supposition of the objector. But just here I wish to ask again, 
does any earthly parent love his offspring more than God loves 
His creatures ? Yet God is perfectly and infinitely happy in His 
own self-existent glory and goodness ; and withal He witnesses 
"the whole creation groaning and travailing together in pain," and 
His intelligent creatures suffering indescribable anguish, in many 
instances, too, when they are innocent . If the great Father God 
can witness such sufferings, I am confident that in some way He 
will enable His ransomed ones to regard with perfect contentment 
every exercise of His high prerogative, whether in wrath or mercy, 
that their language may be : " So let all thine enemies perish, O 
Lord, but let them that love thee be as the sun when he goeth 
forth in his might." 

(5) Again, it is objected that the perpetuity of sin and its punish- 
ment in hell will forever detract from the divine glory. I do not think 
so. I believe the glory and majesty of Queen Victoria's rule are 
as much displayed in our prisons as among law-abiding subjects. 


The objector falls into the palpable error of Voltaire, wiio tries to 
thrust us into a dilemma by saying, " Your God is either unable or 
unwilling to put an end to sin. He seems to be opposed to sin. 
He cannot, therefore, be omnipotent." As if the natural omnipo- 
tence of God determined the moral character of His creatures. Is 
virtue a matter of mechanics? Is goodness produced by physical 
force? Can electricity or gravitation or any other of the great 
natural forces, which are God's fingers, clutch a sinner and I'ift him 
up into purity and obedience ? The objector is simply forgetting 
that in the discussion before us we are in the realm of the moral, 
not of the physical. If the perpetuity of sin seems mysterious, it 
is certainly much less so than its origin. Archbishop Whately said 
very appropriately, " I will undertake to explain the final condition 
of the wicked, when some one will explain the existence of the 
wicked." But most startling and shocking of all would be an at- 
tempted violent termination of sin by physical force. When it is 
objected that it is not in harmony with our sentiments and with the 
fitness of things that sin should be eternal, I reply that it is not in 
harmony with our sentiments that sin should exist at all. But in 
the manifestation of our vanity in opposition to certain facts in the 
divine government, do we not deserve the reproof of Butler, when 
he says, " We make very free, by our sentiments, if I mistake not, 
with the divine goodness by our speculations," or the sterner reproof 
of revelation, " Moreover, the Lord answered Job, and said, Shall 
he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that re- 
proveth God, let him answer it." We may depend upon it, God 
will look after the fitness of things without our instructing Him 
how to rule a universe. 

I have now tried to answer all the objections I can think of 

against the Scriptural doctrine of Retribution. In conclusion, I 

submit that, as ministers, we need to regard this doctrine as a most 

vital one in revealed religion. I think the minister is making a 



most serious error, who, with a spurious catholicity, shg-hts this 
truth, and either says nothing about it, or speaks very umbiguously. 
If this be not a vital doctrine I know not what is. But, says the 
objector, " May not a Restorationist get to heaven ?" I answer, 
by reminding the objector, especially if he be an x^rminian, that he 
may take the vv^hole round of Christian doctrine, and, according to 
the test he is trying to apply here, he will find none about which 
there have not been held erroneous views by^ very good men. I 
think that Channiag, a Unitarian ; and Molinos, a Roman Catholic ; 
and Socrates, altogether without revealed religion, are in heaven : 
but, if they are, does that prove that the doctrines they failed to 
receive are not vital ? That a doctrine is vital is not disproved by 
the fact that there have been good men who have not received it. 
If that be the test, I defy you to name a single specific doctrine of 
the Christian system that is vital ? No ! Doctrines are vital really 
in proportion to their practical bearing upon human destiny, and 
in this respect the truth before us is one of the most vital parts of 
the message divinely committed to us. A man may hold errone- 
ous views concerning retribution as concerning many other things, 
and be saved ; but depend upon it, if this doctrine be generally 
abandoned, so also will be the authority of Scripture, which is so 
unequivocally in its favor, and with the Bible will be abandoned 
the whol-e system of Christian truth, and with Christian dogma will 
soon go Christian morals, and with Christian morals Christian civil- 
ization. We may rest assured if we import any latitudinarianism 
here, we are imperilling our spiritual and moral force over men's 
lives and characters. Our revival aggressiveness is paralyzed ; our 
missionary enterprise is dead and gone, when laxity of faith pre- 
vails here. Do you think the gallant lifeboat service, amid the 
surf and storm of the British coast, would maintain its heroism if, 
by some strange infatuation, its members were led to think that 
drowning men disappear for a time in the dark, cold waters, but 
they will come to life again after some months and rc-appcar 


among men ? The inspiration of their heroism is the thought that 
the shipwrecked must be rescued at once, or they are hopelessly- 
lost. This doctrine is so vital, I think we should regard with ap- 
proval the action of the Southern Baptist Missionary Board in the 
United States two years ago, when it refused to send to China two 
missionaries previously selected and equipped, because at the last 
moment it was discovered that they did not hold the orthodox 
view of Retribution. Some one has said, " He who has but a small 
abhorrence of evil has but a feeble allegiance to good." I do not 
say that, in the case of able and earnest men like Neander, Tholuck, 
and Farrar, but in the case of multitudes of unconverted men, who 
are finding solace in the destructive error of Restorationism, and 
in the case of hundreds of formal Church members, who are drift- 
ing in this direction, the whole tendency is explained by laxness 
concerning the enormity of sin and its terrific consequences as re- 
vealed in the Sacred Scriptures. Such are they to whom God 
speaks by Ezekiel xiii. 22 : " With lies ye have made the heart of 
the righteous sad, and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that 
he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life." 
Let us hold the truth of Christ in the spirit of Christ. If cold, 
hard dogmatism is anywhere out of place, it is in the presentation 
to the people of the awful truths which have just engaged our at- 
tention. No man should preach on hell without a very rich baptism 
of the spirit of love and tenderest sympathy. " Knowing therefore 
the TERRORS of the Lord, we PERSUADE men." Whatever Canon 
Farrar sometimes illiberally says to the contrary, they who have 
believed in the eternal punishment of sin are they who have done 
most to save men from sin. Have John Howe, Alleine, Baxter, 
Wesley, Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, Fletcher, Chalmers, and the 
great evangelists of all the Churches, been less marked by tender 
sympathy for men than the representatives of the various forms of 
error in Eschatology? Is it Universalists and Restorationists that 
have gone with the love of Christ constraining them to compel men 


to come in from their want and peril to the benefits offered by 
Christ? Nay, verily, the Church and the world cannot afford to 
forget what is due to the mighty men of God who, with glowing 
zeal, and yearning pity, and tenderest sympathy, have labored to 
snatch men as brands from the eternal burnings of perdition ! May 
God baptize every Christian minister with this spirit, that the world 
may see that we are more concerned in saving souls than in saving 
our creeds. 


By the REV'D A. CARMAN, D. D., 

General Superintendent of the Methodist Church. 

^^ HERE is no doubt the able author of the book, for which 
by request this subsidiary paper is written, will fully 
treat the scriptural argument upon the awful theme we 
have in hand. It may be better for me to confine myself 
to some exterior and supplementary considerations ; not by 
any means independent of the Holy Scriptures, any more 
than the state of the air is independent of the sun on a cloudy day ; 
but which are better displayed by the light of Scripture, and come 
more fully into view, as the great fundamental and constitutional 
facts of our moral being. Indeed for the knowledge we have of the 
doctrines of what we call Natural Religion, w^e are mainly, though 
unconsciously, indebted to the clearer light of Revelation and In- 
spiration. The millions of the human family who, destitute of the 
sacred Scriptures, are living under the requirements of natural 
religion, are by no means the races of men that are most fully ac- 
quainted with the doctrines and demands of that very economy 
under which they act, and under whose provisions they shall be 
judged. This is one of the sad defects of the religion of human 
experience and reason, that it cannot make known and felt its 
teachings and sanctions to the restraint of evnl, the security of the 


good, the enlightenment of the mind, and the comfort of the heart. 
The facts and relations are the same without the Bible, but the 
Bible is required to bring them clearly into the light. 

All around the globe the movements of the air, the rivers in 
the seas, and the currents of the oceans are dependent on the sun, 
and yet there are regions that do not see the sun for many months. 
In the gorges, and deep valleys amid the mountains the direct 
solar ray scarcely penetrates. Many good things and beautiful 
visions are lacking, that the direct solar ray would supply. And 
yet, there is light enough to live and to sustain many forms of life. 
and make human life not only possible but even enjoyable. So 
the solar ray, oblique, or reflective, or obscured or even difracted 
and distorted may support an existence or disclose facts and phe- 
nomena that in utter darkness would be impossible or inappreciable. 
Thus without question to Divine Revelation, we owe vastly more 
than men ordinarily give it credit for. While it does not make 
natural religion so called, or constitute or appoint our moral and 
religious relations, it does throw a vast amount of light on them, 
once constituted and appointed. 

Wherefore in a discussion of religious matters we may not 
wholly divest ourselves of the influence of revelation, even though 
we adduce our considerations from reason and the evident consti- 
tution of things. Men make a grave mistake when they imagine 
the Bible makes religion. The Bible makes religion no more than 
the grammar or the dictionary makes language ; no more than the 
arithmetic or the geometry makes mathematics ; or chronicles and 
history makes events. The grammar and the dictionary reveal the 
power and use of language ; the arithmetic and the geometry lead 
onward and upward in the mathematics ; and chronicles and his- 
tory show the philosophic succession of events, and often indicate 
how disaster may be averted and success achieved. But there was 
language before grammars ; calculations before arithmetics ; and 
actions before records. So there were moral relations and relioious 


duties before even the most venerable of the sacred books ; and it 
is these relations and their consequent duties with which we have to 
do in religion. In fact they make, they are the religion. The 
Bible makes them clear, and universally and decisively authorita- 
tive ; but does not constitute them. The lighthouse does not make 
the ocean, the ship, nor the cargo ; but it enables the storm tossed 
mariner on the dangerous coast to bring his vessel with its priceless 
cargo into a good haven. So the Holy Scriptures shed light on 
the way we are going. In many regards indeed they are as the 
sun, high in the heavens shedding down fulness of light, upon our 
origin, relations, duties and destiny. For the full argument and 
conclusive declarations upon such a subject as Eternal Punishment, 
we must then of course turn to the Holy writ in infinite condescen- 
sion and love given us ; but Holy Writ will have its undoubted 
and indubitable credentials in the nature and acts of God and the 
nature of man. 

Before we reach the Divine Scriptures we have large and rich 
volumes of instruction, if we but knew how to read them. If men 
by departure from God had not lost this knowledge, even natural 
religion had taught many truths that now come to us only by 
Revelation. We have, intended of God as great instructors, our 
moral instincts, the constitution and course of nature, the political 
and social laws of our being, and the providential government of 
the world. And when men deny any scriptural doctrine, it is by 
no means an irrational or irreligious mental process, to inquire what 
is the voice of these other oracles of God upon the question. It is 
not asking too much of men to require that the same principles of 
common justice, common prudence, common right, and common 
sense, that govern them in their views and decisions of other mat- 
ters, should be operative and decisive also in religion. 

Bishop Butler takes rational ground when he argues from natu- 
ral to revealed religion ; and Archbishop Whately is on logical and 
reasonable premises, when he urges that the ordinary objections 


a^rainst Christianity lie with equal cogency against the constitution 
and course of nature, and the proceedings of every day Hfe as every- 
where accepted by men. So comprehensive and direct are these 
great revealers of the mind of God and teachers of the human race, 
that when it is the existence of religion or the fact of human accoun- 
tability that is in question, their utterances are plain and emphatic : 
that God and men are bound together in moral relations, which of 
course is religion ; and that the natural sequence of creation, preser- 
vation, and moral constitution and endowment, is that God justly 
holds man responsible, which of course is human accountability. 
So that for religion, per se, in Its obligations of worship, gratitude, 
love and obedience, the Bible might not be required ; nor for the 
knowledge that every man shall give account of himself to God. 
But it Is a very different question when we want to know the right 
religion, the true God, the kind of worship, the character of the 
obedience, the degree of gratitude and love, and the nature, extent 
and conseqences of the accountability. The Bible, a revelation 
from God, is therefore utterly indispensable to men ; and, with 
divine credentials, Is absolutely authoritative over them, What it 
determines, it determines peremptorily, supremely, decisively, alone 
and forever. Once established as the word of God, there is no 
question, no modification, no appeal ; and on such a subject as 
the nature and duration of the future punishment of wicked men, 
which is of course immediately connected with human accoun- 
tabillt}'. It must give the full and final utterance. Yet Holy Writ 
itself clearly recognizes the knowledge of God prior to itself, and 
the knowledge of duties, and of the consequences of their obser- 
vance and disregard. " For the wrath of God is revealed from 
heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who 
hold the truth In unrighteousness. Because that which may be 
known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto 
them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the 
world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are 


made, even His eternal power and Godhead ; so that they are with- 
out excuse ; because that when they knew God they glorified Him 
not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imagina- 
tions, and their foolish heart was darkened." 

Having so far justified the right and the ability of natural 
religion to speak to its extent upon even so weighty a subject as 
the future punishment of the wicked, our next business is to seek 
the declarations and even the intimations of those venerable in- 
structors, universal through time and place, to our human race ; and 
even to-day, after so long a time of inspired oracles, the guide of 
more millions of the family of man, than the voice of the Holy 
Apostles and Prophets and of the Son of God Himself Their 
utterances, had they been heeded and cherished, treasured and 
obeyed, would have been to-day in the accumulated wisdom of the 
centuries a code of morals and a voice of authority and power, har- 
monious with inspired truth, and second only to it in majest}', ex- 
cellence and grace. 

While we cannot estimate the Bible too highly, too keenly feel 
our dependence upon it, or to be too deeply grateful for the plane 
of light and power to which it has lifted us, it is certain we set too 
little store by the sources of religious knowledge God has ordained 
outside of the Scriptures, and we might say antecedent to the Scrip- 
tures : sources of knowledge that have opened up different dispen- 
sations and economies in the divine government of the world. 

It ought not to escape our notice that inside the Bible itself there 
are different dispensations, so they might well be expected in the 
broader field of deductive and inductive religion. And as John 
the Revelator, in heaven's effulgence saw four creatures giving glory 
and honor and thanks to Him that sat on the throne who liveth for 
ever and ever, and joining in creation's song, before one was found 
to open the seven fold sealed book and send forth redemption's 
chorus ; so may I be permitted in reason's dimmer ray to enquire 
in all humility of four ancient teachers of the human race, hoary 


with years and reverend in wisdom ; viz., The moral sentiments 
and instincts of men ; the constitution and course of nature ; the 
principles and laws of human society, and the providential govern- 
ment of the world. Our first inquiry then is what do the moral 
sentiments and instincts of the human race, say upon the eternal 
punishment of the wicked? The natural unbiased unperverted in- 
stinct is a safe guide. And why not ? For it is the voice of God. 
Instinct, says Dr. Paley, is an impulse prior to knowledge and in- 
dependent of reason. 

Such is natural instinct whereby the brute chooses its food, the. 
wild beast pursues its game, the bird builds its nest, the spider 
weaves its web, the beaver constructs his dam and the bee his cells. 
The impulse is all there is of it, the intelligence, the judgment being 
supplied by another — a superior being. In the case of man, a 
moral being, the moral sentiment is attached to the instinct, so that 
while there is the unerring impulse, there is also, removed back- 
ward a step, the moral sentiment ; which again when unbiased, un- 
perverted, is a safe guide ; for it is the judgment, the conclusion of a 
reasoning process, which reasoning process is so to speak done by 
another, a higher being, and the judgment, the conclusion only 
furnished to the mind, or as we say, it is the first flash of intelli- 
gence in the uncolored native light of reason. And with this first 
flash of intelligence, is joined unerringly and irresistibly the right 
and proper feeling in the just and due degree ; which feeling gives 
to that stage of the moral activity the name sentiment rather than 
judgment, or conclusion, though it is a native judgment attended 
by, and inseparable from, the virgin feeling, out of whose happy 
union comes the heaven born impulse we call moral instinct. Any 
one will see that in the consideration of these sentiments and in- 
stincts we must keep them clear of the tangled and uncertain pro- 
cesses of reasoning. Reasoning may in the end reach the same 
point, as do sentiment and instinct, but the latter come to the point 
by one leap in a clear light, while the former feels its way often 



through crooked paths and with much hesitancy. Nor must we 
allow the inconsistencies and irregularities of human action to color 
or hinder our vision on this matter. What we want is, to come at 
what are really moral sentiments and instincts, and then learn the 
lessons they teach. Let us have no pretenders or deceivers urged 
upon us, but catch the clear light in the free action of the 
soul. We are dealing with verities, with the first and most sub- 
stantial verities, and with those that in a good sense are funda- 
mental to all other verities, so we need not fear the tests. The 
common language of men and the common conduct of mankind 
will aid us in our discrimination, so that we may readily lay out of 
our thought such sentiments and impulses as are not simultaneous 
with reasons primal ray. 

Thinking upon these subjects j^ou will have observed that a 
moral action, like the general of an army, has both an advance 
guard and a retinue, and it has also an army of mighty troops 

For present purposes we have only to do with what occurs in the 
man himself and is known to the man himself, that is, with the facts 
of moral consciousness. When an action is proposed — that is, when 
it is proposed to do or not to do a certain thing, for not doing, as 
well as doing, is a moral act, which is to say, not doing is doing, 
morally considered ; — when an action is proposed, there at once 
arises the question in its moral relations — is it right ? Possessing 
a conscience, we cannot avoid this question. We cannot thrust it 
aside, crowd it down, or push it away. It forces itself upon us and 
will be answered, by the decisive yea for the right ; the decisive 
nay for the wrong ; or doubt as to the moral quality of the action, 
and action under such doubt is wrong. 

Doubt as to the expediency of an action is one thing ; as to its 
right or wrong, is quite another. Doubt as to expediency may 
lead to quick decisions and prompt measures, but doubt as to right 
enforces careful examination, and quickly reaches a basis of action 


safe for the individual, and hence at length for society, even if it be 
to give conscience the benefit of the doubt. The determination as 
to right or wrong, comes from comparison with some external law 
or standard, but come it must. Then having decided it right, we 
feel impelled to do it ; wrong, impelled not to do it. We may go 
contrary to the impulse, but the impulse is Vv^ith the sense of right, 
nevertheless. In doing and when done, if right, there is a satisfac- 
tion, a pleasure — virtue is its own reward — but if wrong there is a 
burden, a pain, a grief, a condemnation. The impulse is the 
instinct, and the feeling has more to do with the sentiment. Again, 
when we have done right, especially if at risk and cost, we feel we 
have a claim upon some one for acknowledgment, aye even for 
reward : and if this is withheld we are deeply conscious that a 
wrong, an injustice, is done us. 

This is the sentiment of merit. On the other hand, if we have 
done wrong and are conscious of it, we feel guilty, and know and 
keenly feel we deserve punishment. The criminal true to his in- 
stincts and sentiments, calls down justice upon his own head. His 
only relief is in suffering the punishment due his misdeeds and 
offences. His soul within him, if honest, cries out for punishment. 
The moral nature combines with the moral law, to utter thunders 
deeper, louder, longer, than covered Sinai's trembling summit with 
mystery and majesty. These are undeniably the facts of our moral 
constitution. They do not depend on the Bible and Revelation. 
They depend on the nature of God and the nature of man. Had 
we no other book to read, it is written here in our consciousness in 
unmistakable characters that transgression of law, wrong-domg, 
sin must be punished. Punishment is as much a part of the moral 
economy under which we live, as the law of God or the conscience 
of man. 

Punishment and reward are co-extensive and stand or fall to- 
gether. They are both in the human consciousness, the soul's 
honest claim of reward, the soul's honest call for punishment. With 



our perverted nature we clamor for other's PUNISHMENT and for 
OUR OWN REWARD, but what we have to do with is not the soul's 
struggles out of the bogs and through the mists of selfishness and 
sin, but the primal and honest leaps of instinct and sentiment in 
their native air and light. 

It will be observed that the cry of the moral instinct and senti- 
ment is for punishment ; and there can be no satisfaction or rest 
till the punishment is fully meted out, or some substitute found. 
And when we say, " some substitute found," it will be seen at once 
we are borrowing light from Revelation. Guilt is a personal mat- 
ter, and punishment is equally personal and direct. No innocent 
man can be punished for the guilty man's transgression ; every man 
must bear his own burden. The guilty alone can be punished. But 
an innocent man may endure a chastisement, a pain, which on the 
other hand the government may accept for the chastisement, pun- 
ishment and pain of the guilty. It is so that the Scriptures say, 
" The chastisement," not the punishment, " of our peace was upon 
Him," Christ. Christ was not punished far us, but chastened for 
us ; and the relations of the chastised substitute and the guilty 
actual transgressor are thereby something new in the moral uni- 
verse. When it comes to meting out punishment, considerations 
arise that instinct and sentiment cannot settle. If we are to judge 
as to the severity, continuity, or endurance of punishment, we must 
know something of the law-giver, his empire, the law and the sub- 
ject. And that something must be not a little, but a great deal. 
And here not only sentiment and instinct, but reason and reason- 
ing also fail. Reason and reasoning may attain to some idea of the 
vastness of the empire, the majesty of law, the importance of obe- 
dience ; to perhaps enough of an idea to leave the conscious trans- 
gressor in doubt as to whether he has been punished at all or pun- 
ished inadequately ; and, because he cannot know the measure of 
the guilt and the measure of the satisfactory punishment, he is ever 
left to uncertainties and tormenting fears, and precipitated ulti- 


mately into moral indifference or unutterable despair. And whether 
it be indifference or despair, the unhappy culprit plunges further 
downward into darkness, wickedness and wretchedness. What is 
this but the history of Paganism ? What mean the fears, the 
superstitions, the subterfuges, the toilsome pilgrimages, the exhaus- 
tive worships, the ever increasing self-imposed pains and penalties, 
the self-inflicted tortures, privations and insatiable sacrifices of the 
whole heathen world, ancient and modern ? And the more the 
religion and the greater the sacrifices, the more and the greater the 
sinfulness and the shamelessness, as deep after deep of crime and 
ruin is opened and wallowed through to vaster, gloomier, horrider 
abysses below. The man sins ; he knows his guilt ; his guilt impels 
him to sacrificial satisfaction and self-punishment. 

With all his soul endeavoring to effect these, and with all his 
resources laboring to preserve the commensurateness of his guilt 
and punishment, he falls, he plunges further into sin ; which of 
course, so rising and closing over and above him, an ever increasing 
burden, crushes him under its overwhelming weight. It is worse 
than the stone of Sisyphus, which by incessant labor he could keep 
on the hillside ; for this tremendous weight of guilt presses the poor 
victim farther and farther down forever. And so it even corrupts 
the life fountains, and poisons the hereditary streams to the undoing 
— the moral desolations of whole nations of men. 

Ignorance, then, of the majesty of the law, the glory of the ruler, 
and the obligation of the subject, will not keep guilt and punish- 
ment commensurate or equal paced in the race. Universal human 
conscience calls down punishment upon the transgressor, and the 
sharpest, severest punishment under the heavens is when a man, the 
conscious culprit, really sets about punishing himself ; then the lashes 
are thongs of steel, and the barbs are fangs of scorpions. Self- 
inflicted punishment is the most insatiable punishment in the uni- 
verse ; simply because the man does not know where to stop : and 
when the work is well begun and his heart is set upon it, he will 
not stop till he has made a certain end and found rest. 


All this clearly points to the fact that the nature of the law, 
the claims of the ruler, the dignity and the majesty of the govern- 
ment and the capabilities and obligations of the governed must 
come into the account, and that they do come into the account to 
the consciousness and the conscience, to the sentiments and to the 
instincts, though the guilty man knows not what the trouble is, or 
what is the terrific ruin and overthrow in which he is engulfed. 

Then let us look for a moment as best we can, at what these things 
are that come so mightily, yet so inperceptibly into human experi- 
ence, hnman history, human consciousness, and human character. 
What are these awful facts of nature we know so little about, 
and yet without which we cannot for a moment explain, the moral 
phenomena and religious transactions of the world ? Take the 
majesty of the law as appointed for the sinless, upright, unfallen 
man. And the moral law in its majesty is like the mathematics, 
the same to the sinful, fallen, and the sinless unfallen man. And 
once more this moral law in its majesty and not any accomodating 
or supplementary economy like the Jewish, is that with which the 
sentiments and instincts have to do. Slow reasoning or slower in- 
struction may adapt itself to subsidiary or secondary moral or legal 
arrangements, but instinct and sentiment leap at a bound in the 
pure primal light to the heights of pristine excellence, and primi- 
tive and supreme moral demand, and catch their approbations and 
condemnations amid the radiance and splendors of original and 
eternal glory. Hence men feel guilty when other men and fallaci- 
ous systems would reason away, doubt away, explain away, sym- 
pathize away their guilt. But their guilt will not away, for it is 
under the quick inner spiritual eye in the primal light. Hence 
again men claim respect, honor and reward even, while the multi- 
tudes hiss and execrate, nor can the screams of execration drown 
the sturdy, steady voice within. Posterity restores with plaudits 
what the contemporary generation denies with hisses and groans. 


Why this is all true and a thousand times repeated in the his- 
tory of our wicked wilful world, finds explanation in the loftiness, 
purity and glory of that law proclaimed from the eternal throne, and 
whose light flashes upon the conscience stirring the inmost soul with 
Heaven's own ray. We all set more store by the County law than 
that of the Township, more by the Provincial than the Municipal, 
more by the Dominional than the Provincial, and more by the 
Imperial than the Colonial. The Warden of the County is more 
than the Reeve of the Township, the Lieutenant Governor of the 
Province more than the Warden of a County, the Governor Gen- 
eral of the Dominion of more dignity and power than the Lieut.- 
Governors, and Her Majesty the Queen greater in authority, dignity 
and power than any Governor or Viceroy of any dependency of 
the Empire. The County Council is greater than the Township 
Council ; the Provincial Parliament than the County Council ; the 
Parliament of the Dominion than the Legislature of the Province ; 
and the Imperial Parliament, the Commons and the Lords of the 
Empire, of greater weight, resources, power and glory than the 
Parliament of the Dominion. 

The law rises with the majesty of the court and the govern- 
ment ; with the interests to be guarded ; the rights to be protected 
and cherished ; immunities and privileges to be secured ; opportun- 
ities to be opened up, and possessions maintained. And so the 
risks, hazards, ills, losses, and disasters, increase, multiply and in- 
tensify with the growing majesty of the law, the excellence of the 
rising sovereignty, the broadening and extending of the possessions 
and interests, and the capabilities of higher and higher attainments 
by more and more people in greater and greater security through 
broader and remoter generations, in ever enlarging felicity and 
peace. Also the penalties rise with the law, the courts and parlia- 
ments to extreme punishment by supreme authority for highest 
crimes and misdemeanors. The township penalty is not equal to 
the county fine ; the county penalty is not so severe as the provin- 


cial ; nor the provincial as the imperial. Men can sin all the vvav 
from light fines and brief imprisonments to the penitentiary for 
life and the gallows ; all the way from contempt of a magistrate's 
court to defiance of the crown, rebellion and treason. 

Forfeitures may grade all the way from a dime to life long 
liberty ; from a dollar to all the possibilities of our earthly exis- 
tance. All men say all this thing is right. What shall we then 
say to the majesty of that law, that has to do not only with the 
subjects of the British Empire, but also with all the people of all 
the generations of earth, with all men of alJ times and climes ? 
That law that has to guard not only some civic and municipal 
rights and possessions, but all rights and all possessions of all 
p3ople of all the times and the eternities? That law that not onl\- 
must keep and save all things that other laws keep and save, but 
must also keep and save the laws themselves ? That law that is 
the life power, purifier and guardian of all other laws ? If so 
august be British Royal prerogative, and so sublime, mighty anc! 
far-reaching be the sovereignty of this Empire, what shall we sa\- 
of the prerogative of the King of Kings, of the law that goeth forth 
out of His mouth, not only to the outer ear and hand of the men 
of the kingdom of a day. but to the hearts and consciences of al'. 
moral beings in heaven and in earth through all time ; and what oT 
the sovereignty, high and lifted up above all dominions, principal- 
ities and powers, above all kingdoms and empires ; and which i> 
not like a Roman or a British empire for a few centuries over a part 
of the populations of the earth, but from everlasting to everlasting 
over all ranks of intelligent beings of all worlds, countless and 
glorious? If the little disorder of the violation of a Township law 
must be met with a penalty, and all men approve, and the more 
serious disorder of the violation of a Provincial law must be met 
with a severer penalty, even sometimes death itself — and again all 
men approve — and rebellion, treason, against our constituted autho- 
rities must be met with the death of many, the nearest we can bring 



the offending multitudes to eternal banishnment and punishment — 
for surely we would punish more severely if we could — and all men 
approve, what rational objection can these approving men raise to 
such a declaration of supreme displeasure and wrath against the 
violation of supreme law, and defiance of supreme authority? If 
we are to carry out our principles, that a township sin must have a 
township punishment to the extent of the township power ; and a 
county sin a county's punishment to the limit of the count)''s power ; 
and the sin against the empire, the empire's punishment to the very 
extremity of Imperial power, what shall be the punishment when 
there is no limit to the purity of the law, the glory of the sovereignty 
that maintains it, and the majesty of the power that enforces it ? 
If we inflict the nearest punishment we can to eternal death for the 
transgression of a temporary, transient and fallible enactment, how 
can we object to the idea of eternal punishment for the wilful and 
persistent transgression of eternal, immutable and infallible laws, 
the unchanged and unchangeable principles of righteousness and 
truth in the universe of the great God ? If we inflict the nearest 
punishment we can to eternal death, for the transgression of a law 
that effects comparatively a few of our human family, and that for 
the brief continuance of a few generations or centuries at most, 
what have we to object to the idea of eternal punishment for the 
transgression of a law that governs angels through measureless 
cycles, and men through all their generations and centuries ; yea, 
all intelligent beings through all stages of their existence : a law 
that is the ever active moral energy of the divine mind in the main- 
tenance of eternal order, through all ranks of subjects in universal 
empire? How shall we that bring down upon treason quick and 
sharp all the ignominy and penalty we can put into capital punish- 
ment, and visit upon the children the iniquities of the fathers unto 
the third and fourth generations, object to the everlasting banish- 
ment of rebels and traitors from the benefits of the government 
they resisted and of the authority they despised — the government 


established in everlasting righteousness, and the authority main- 
tained in perfect and eternal equity and truth ? You may cut off 
a branch from a tree and you do not kill the tree ; but tear it up by 
the roots, and its life is gone. You may violate a human law, and 
not very much disturb the moral universe of the great God. You 
may violate the law of one country, and not interfere thereby with 
the authority or government of another country. Indeed, so super- 
ficial, temporary, and time-serving are these human laws, for 
transgression of which we take away men's property and men's 
lives, that we may keep them and transgress the law of God, in their 
observance ; and we may violate them and keep the law of God in 
this violation. Eternal, fundamental laws, are at once the offspring 
and safeguard of eternal rectitude. The penalty must be commen- 
surate with the law, the authority, the government, the primal and 
eternal sovereignty. Man, an immortal being, has a conscience, can 
appreciate the situation, can take in quite fully the idea of the 
penalty. What reasonable, natural course, then, is there but eter- 
nal punishment for the violation of eternal law, especially when 
that violation becomes persistent and eternal ? 

It would appear, then, quite clear that our moral instincts and 
sentiments declare plainly for the eternal punishment of the wicked. 
Considering what and who God is, what and who man is, what the 
dignity and majesty of the government and law ; what the nature 
and consequences of transgression, apart from the transgressor him- 
self, that is the effect on others and on the universe of God ; con- 
sidering that such ideas as guilt, satisfaction or atonement, punish- 
ment and reward, merit and demerit, condemnation and approbation, 
praise and blame, happiness and misery, are eternal. How can it 
be, if government is eternal, that its rewards should not be eternal, 
and its punishments eternal, when once it has decided and declared 
such a doom ? For who will say guilt is not eternal, once it is in- 
curred ? Who will say merit is not eternal, once it is achieved ? 
Given an immortal man, an eternal God, a supreme law, a discern- 


ing and impelling conscience, a governing will, and a vvillul trans- 
gression, and what or who shall turn aside the eternity of guilt ? 

If God in infinite wisdom and love discovers and reveals a plan 
and way of pardon, all right. But certain it is, with the indisputa- 
ble facts of our moral being in us and upon us, we could find out 
no way of pardon, or reconciliation of the offended sovereign and 
the rebel offender. We could find no help or atonement. Out- 
side of Revelation, guilt is eternal, and violation of supreme law 
irreparable. No wonder at all that heathen and natural systems 
have gone to balancing merits over against transgressions and guilt. 
For merit is also eternal, and in its degree effective, if there is some 
way of bringing the merit to the recognition of the Sovereign. But 
the trouble is, as in a government in a state of rebellion, the 
Sovereign cannot, dares not, look upon merits, deeds of daring and 
renown. To the rebel, the transgressor, the only merit is submis- 
sion, obedience ; even in civil and political affairs this cannot make 
atonement for past rebellion, repair its damages, or change the 
mind and affection of the rebel. How much less, then, in spiritual 
matters 1 

But here we refrain ; for in such a statement we push on close 
to the outer confines of Revelation. Merit is eternal. It is an 
eternal claim, unless foreclosed, till recognized and satisfied. And 
so is happiness susceptible of eternity. And in the moral order, to 
a moral being rightly constituted or properly restored, perpetual 
rectitude brings, must bring, perpetual and eternal happiness : eter- 
nal, when that moral being is endued with immortality. And if on 
these conditions the happiness can be eternal, surely the privation, 
the want of it, can be eternal. But privation is punishment. 

Just retribution may add in greater or lesser degrees pains and 
penalties ; for there are degrees of wickedness — admittedly so ev^en 
here — that mere privation will not meet. So among our primal 
moral ideas, there is that of eternal punishment. He that runs may 
read. What heightens this idea and brings it out prominently in 


human experience and human history, outside of and prior to reve- 
lation, is the terrible fact that there may be a continuity, an eter- 
nity of sin as well as of punishment. It is this continuity and cumu- 
lative energy of sin, of transgression and rebellion, that develops 
the fearful vices and superstitions of the heathen world. It is this 
that plunges humanity downward from deep to deep in darkness . 
and crime ; so that a man is constrained to say, If there is not an 
eternal hell, there ought to be. If there is no restraint, confine- 
ment, and punishment of wickedness, there ought to be. With the 
transgressor confirmed in his transgressions, established in his re- 
bellion, perpetually and eternally regardless of all law and defiant 
of all authority, why should there not be eternal banishment and 
punishment, or what else could meet the case? What we as moral 
and accountable beings are choosing day by day, is not so much 
this particular sin or that sin ; but it is the habit, the character of 
sin. The moral character, for good or evil, fast becomes a fixture. 
Acts and tendencies soon incrustate, ossify, petrify into fixedness 
of purpose, and irresistibleness of impulse, direction and aim. They 
soon make destiny, fate. Experience, observation, and all human 
history combine to attest that sin, mobile and pliable enough at 
first, precipitates into rocky ridges and granite walls and towers. 
Easily broken as a spider's web at the beginning, and as easily blown 
off as thistle down, it comes at length to be chains of iron and 
spikes and barbs of steel. Rejected at a toss in its first advances, 
it soon marches, with conquering squadrons and irresistible weapons, 
among the generations of men, gathering momentum by the tre- 
mendous energy of hereditary descent and the laws of propagation. 
Socially and nationally, as well as individually, it forms character, 
closes up the avenues of virtue and excellence, poisons rf^medial 
streams of healing waters at their fountains ; and pours over the 
multitudes devouring and death-dealing floods. What can arrest 
its progress? What stay its course ? The succeeding generations 
become worse and worse, and the character of the individual man 


formed in deeper darkness and grosser crime, but heightens the 
intensity of iniquity, and revels in greater enormities of corruption, 
wrong, violence and blood. Such transgressors not only do wrong, 
but they take delight in them that do it. So far past resisting 
evil, they have even forgotten to condemn iniquity in others. 
Truly the graphic, historic picture given by Paul is by no means 
overdrawn ; not less historic or philosophic because in a letter from 
an inspired missionary to the ancient Romans. 

What hope is there for humanity plunged to such a depth ? 
There is no self-recovering, self-reinstating power here. Character 
is fixed. Tendencies, impulses, desires, habits, thoughts, aims and 
purposes, are all in one direction. Sin, consuming sin, gnaws away 
at the vitals of the race, and the vitals grow as fast as eaten. Even 
reproductive sin, under an economy of spirituality and immortality 
multiplies what it destroys. In exacting its penalties and inflicting 
its punishments, it fosters its terrible brood of pain and misery 
rebellion, strife and crime ; bringing on severer chastisements, greater 
wretchedness, more wicked rebellion, fiercer hate, new monsters of 
violence and new tragedies of crime. 

How then, with a character so formed and fixed, with this awful 
bent to eternal sinning, and the ceaseless tread in the enlarging 
round of increasing transgression ; how are we to have anything 
but eternal punishment ? What else would be right or meet the 
case. We are not now dealing with the self-denying, heroic choice 
that makes the good man, or the grand remedial agencies and 
opportunities that justify the government of the Great God. But 
we are dealing with man's own moral sentiments, instincts and 
capabilities, and with the laws we find written in unmistakable char- 
acters upon the human soul ; laws that are verified in univer- 
sal human experience, and in the history of the human race. 
Surely there is no voice within us in the depths of our rational and 
moral nature, that cries out against the eternal punishment of the 
wicked. On the other hand, our rational and moral instincts, the 


basis of natural religion, give at least a decidedly favorable " a 
priori" to the Biblical doctrine on this momentous question. 

Indeed, if men had been true to their religious instincts, they 
had found the doctrine, awful as it is, uttered in their own con- 
sciences, affirmed in reason, sentiment and instinct, and but reiter- 
ated and confirmed when the Son of God came down from Heaven, 
with the voice from out the counsels of eternity, and the light from 
the unfailing splendors of the everlasting throne and the ever- 
blessed dominions of the King of kings. We have said that there 
is no voice in our rational or moral nature that cries out against 
the justice of eternal punishment, and we think we have demon- 
strated that the oracles of God within us call down upon offenders, 
under all natural and merely rational schemes of Divine government 
and administration, all that is implied in everlasting punishment, 
and vindicate the divine justice, wisdom and goodness in the pro- 
clamation and execution of such penalties. 

Indeed, on any natural or merely rational scheme we cannot dis- 
cover, how there should be anything else but everlasting punishment 
for the transgressor of the law of God. Instead of the burden of 
the proof being on the Holy Scriptures, and the doctrine of ever- 
lasting punishment restated and reaffirmed therein, the burden of 
proof is on the man that denies the doctrine of the Holy Writ. 
For the utterances of conscience and primal reason are so clear there 
is no need of any man mistaking them. The violation of the law 
brings guilt and sin — sin and guilt bring greater sin and deeper 
guilt — and where is the stopping place and where the remedy ? 
Simple conscience and pure reason have none to offer. Whatever 
may come from other sources, they speak only of augmenting guilt 
and eternal punishment as in a mathematical discrepancy, the fur- 
ther you carry it the worse it gets, the more products you combine 
it with, the farther you are from accuracy and the more uncertain 
and unsatisfactory your results, one error corrupting all previous cal- 
culations ; so in a moral delinquency, nature has no recuperative or 


restorative power, and the further it proceeds in action and the more 
it is mingled with purposes and results, the wider the divergence 
from rectitude, the more terrific the disasters in the great enterprises 
of moral government, the more difficult to gain solid standing 
ground for resistance, or energy for recovery and renovation, and 
the deeper the guilt and the heavier the punishment of the first and 
the fast following crimes and offences. But men do speak against 
the doctrine everlasting punishment, and there is a voice raised 
against it. Whence does that voice come ? Some think they hear 
it sounding up from the depths within. They say it is repugnant to 
their feelings and shocking to their sympathies and sensibilities. " It 
cannot be that God will condemn a man to eternal punishment for 
some little sin." " Surely God is not worse than men ; and men 
would not do so horrid a thing." And it is very easy to caricature 
the place of eternal banishment and punishment, and to deride and 
ridicule the heathen outgrowths of that idea — which, by the way, 
prove the idea and the principles on which it rests, while they do 
not commend the misrepresentations of it — and with the unthink- 
ing to turn it into caricature and ridicule against the doctrine itself. 
But wounding a sympathy or shocking a sensibility on such a ques- 
tion does not pass for much. Sympathies and sensibilities are not 
native instincts and primal sentiments. Sympathies and sensibili- 
ties are mainly matters of education, and play on the surface of our 
human nature. They go out with the desires and often with the 
passions, right or wrong, and are much influenced and controlled by 
public taste and opinion. Everything depends on what stirs the 
sympathy, on what arouses the sensibility. If the moral being has 
a perfect moral constitution, so that his sympathies are always with 
the right, the law and the decisions of a good conscience, all well ! 
If the sensibilities are always in harmony with the native sentiment, 
always aroused by the wrong, as they ought to be, and repugnant 
to it ; always happy in the right, as they ought to be, and exciting 
^hereto, all well, again ! But if a man has no just appreciation oi 


the right, and cares not for it, what then-? If he is dull and slow to 
recognize authority, rule, law, order, righteousness and duty, what 
then ? If his sympathies are with the bad and the vicious, and his 
sensibilities are easily aroused to selfish and wicked gratification, 
what then ? Sympathies and sensibilities, oft perverted as they 
are, are by no means the trustworthy voices of God in the human 
soul. One may sympathize with an evil doer, and think it a terrible 
thing to punish him. One may dread pain, and think pain worse 
than sin ; — a little personal physical suffering worse than the dis- 
turbance of the eternal moral order. When men have no adequate 
comprehension of the government of God, of His sovereignty and 
dignity ; no appreciation of the height, glory and universality of 
His dominion and law ; no understanding of the nature of trans- 
gression, its enormity and consequences ; no eyes to behold the 
depth and darkness of that gulf into which iniquity has plunged 
us, how are they on the feeling arising out of such ignorance, or on 
the pain of an hour to determine interests and issues. And surely 
truth, righteousness and justice are eternal, if there is eternity in 
the universe of God. Often the very men that would push their 
penalties for a personal wrong beyond a just eternal punishment, 
cry out against the idea of eternal punishment, when it is the 
effort of the all-wise, all-good. Governor of the universe to main- 
tain the public order, security and peace of all ranks of His sub- 
jects in all places of His dominion forever. Not in a vindictive 
spirit, not in a revengeful or retaliatory spirit, not for personal sat- 
isfaction or gratification, is the supreme and extreme penalty of 
eternal punishment pronounced ; but as the voices within us, in 
harmony with inspired revelation proclaim, to uphold righteous 
authority, government and law, to make final and full separation 
between good and evil, between the just and the unjust, and to set 
forth a clear light through the eternal ages, the triumphs of right- 
eousness and the reign of justice, truth and peace. 


Four books were mentioned as bearing on this question before 
we reach the Bible, viz. : our rational and moral instincts ; the 
divine providential government of the world ; the course of nature, 
and the principles and law of human society. 

In this paper we have turned up but some of the leaves of the 
book first mentioned, and this must now suffice. The first book 
declares unmistakably for eternal punishment ; the others are not 
less decisive in their utterances on this solemn truth so fully re- 
affirmed in the revelation of Jesus Christ. 




By archbishop LYNCH, of Toronto. 


HE Catholic Church holds that there IS a hell, and that 
hell is ETERNAL. 

n. God being infinitely just, must punish sinners. 

^^^^^ f^e cannot be indifferent to vice and virtue — the just 

^^^ and the unjust. Men have a choice before them — eternal 

^i^ happiness or eternal misery. The unjust practically choose 

eternal misery. God gives to all free will, with which he does not 


The universal belief of all nations affirms that there is a hell, 
and the Scriptures are most emphatic on that point. 

" Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his 
floor, and gather his wheat into the garner ; but he will burn up 
the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matt. iii. 12 ; Luke iii. 17. 

"And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to 
enter into life maimed, than having two hands go into hell, into 


the fire that never shall be quenched ; where their worm dieth not, 
and the fire is not quenched." Mark ix. 43-44. 

" And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord 
Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, 
and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ; 

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the 
presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." 2nd 
Thess. i. 7-8-9. 

"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their 
own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under dark- 
ness, unto the judgment of the great day. 

Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, in 
like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after 
strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance 
of eternal fire." Jude 6-"]. 

" And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of 
fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and 
shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Rev. xx. 10. 

" The sinners in Zion are afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the 
hypocrites ; who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire ? 
who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings. " Isaiah 
xxxiii. Id.. 


III. (a) The wicked shall go into everlasting punishment, the 
just into life everlasting. " And these shall go away into everlasting 
punishment ; but the righteous into life eternal." — Matt. xxv. 46. 
Everlasting, from its use and position in the text, has the same 
meaning attached to it in the case of the wicked as in that of the 
just. Hence, if the glory of the just is eternal, so is the punishment 
of the wicked. 



(b) It is true sin is committed in a moment, but its gravity is 
not measured according to the length or duration of its commission, 
exactly. Murder may be committed in a moment ; a whole city 
fired in a single instant. 

(c) God is infinitely just. His punishment will accord with 
strict justice. God cannot pardon without true repentance, but 
there is no true repentance without the free will of the sinner, which 
he enjoyed during life, but not after death. 

(d) God must have a sanction for his law ; but the infliction of 
temporal punishment does NOT restrain men from committing 
crimes against God and Society. If the punishments of hell were 
not eternal, there would be no necessity for the redemption, 

IV. Catholic teachers distinguish two kinds of pain, the pain of 
loss and the pain of sense. The pain of loss of God to a reasonable 
being, is the most terrible of all. The burnings and remorse of 
conscience are good illustrations of this pain of loss. God being 
infinitely merciful and just, will not prolong the intensity of the pain 
beyond the proportion of the crime. 



" Death is the lightest evil we should fear ; 
'Tis certain, 'tis the consequence of life ; 
Th' important question is not that we die, 
But how we die." 

"To live holy, is the way to die safely, happily. If death be 
terrible, yet innocence is bold, and will neither fear itself nor let us 
fear. Wickedness is cowardly, and cannot abide any glimpse of 
light or show of danger." 

Death, to a good man, is but passing through a dark entry, out 
of one dusky room of his father's house into another which is fair 
and large, lightsome and glorious." 

The appearance of the blest after the Resiirrectioii. Tlie souls of those who have died 
fighting for the true faith ranged in the sign of a cross. — The Vision of Paradise, Canto xiv. 


W:f'^N DRAWING these brief discussions to a close, we 
call the attention of our readers to the conclusions ar- 
rived at. In brief they are as follows : — 

There is a God. The soul is immortal. There is a 

F"^ '' P day of judgment. The decisions of that august tribunal 
are irrevocable. The conduct of the present determines 
the character of the future. The sufferings of the wicked and the 
happiness of the righteous are alike eternal. 

" The fool hath said in his heart there is no God." No one but 
a fool could say so. Why ? Because, to prove a negative demands 
infinite knowledge. One foot-print upon the sand of a desolate 
island is sufficient evidence that a human being has been there. But 
to prove the contrary, the entire island must be traversed, and every 
spot examined. In like manner the Atheist must have winged his 
way from star to star, and world to world — must, in fact, be en- 
dowed with omnipresence, before he can say, " There is no God." 

It is indeed very questionable if ever a man CONSCIENTIOUSLY 
said, " There is no God." Lord Bacon accounted Atheism a thing 
of the lip more than the heart. Arnold said, " I believe conscien- 
tious Atheism not to exist." The tongue indeed may utter the 


monstrous blasphemy, but the soul remonstrates and protests.* 
Galileo, when forced by tortures to recant, his assertion that the 
world moved, insisted, notwithstanding his formal recantation, that 
it moved for all that. 

Atheism is a cold, withering, repulsive creed. • It is indeed the 
very shadow of death. Whatever there has been in the past, the 
age of avowed and brazen-faced Atheism is gone, Even skeptical 
philosophers are not ready to accept the blank negations of Atheism. 
It does not satisfy the intellect — far less the soul It carries with it 
the greatest of absurdities. For, as has been said, it is easier to 
believe that the works of Homer were the product of the fortuitous 
concourse of the Greek alphabet, than that this world is the result 
of a fortuitous concourse of atoms. And hence among the varied 
shades of materialism in modern days you can hardly find a man 
who says, " There is no God." The most that men say is, " There 
was a God, there is a God ; but he takes no active interest what- 
ever in the creatures of his hand. In virtue of certain fixed, un- 
changing laws, he rules and governs, but takes no cognizance of 

*It is this idea that the poet Laureate, beautifully expresses when he says ; — 

" I found him not in the world or sun. 

On eagle's wing or insect's eye ; 

Nor thro' the questions men may Irv 
The petty cobw. bs we have spun. 

If e'er when faith had fallen asleep, 

I heard a voice, ' believe no more,' 

And heard an ever-breaking shore 
That tumbled in the godless deep. 

A warmth within the breast would melt 

The freezing reason's colder part. 

And, like a man in wrath, the heart 
Stood up and answered, 'I have felt.' 

No, like a child in doubt and fear ; 

But that blind clamor made me wise, 

Then was / as a child that cries, 
But crying, knows his father near, 

And what I seem beheld again 

What is. and co man u-derstands : 

And out of darkness came the hands 
That reach thro' uaLure, mouldiug men." 



individual action, or as the Pantheist forms his creed — God is n;itui\: 
and nature is God." His distinct personality is merged in the mat- 
ter he has formed. 

But such a God might as well not exist. How can we know 
indeed that such a God exists? Take from the Almighty all His 
perfections, che power of will and action — of authority and sover- 
eignty ; of hearing and answering prayer ; and I may as well have 
Baal for my deity, or follow the crowds that are crushed under the 
chariot- wheels of Juggernaut ! 

The evidences for the being of a God arc manifold. But the 
best of all is that the soul of man cannot help believing that there 
is a God. As f owei's look upward to the sun, so does man seek 
after the immortal, ever-living God. As the sparks rise heaven- 
ward, so does the soul towards its maker. In lonel)^ hours of men- 
tal suffering, the instincts of our better nature, like the clinging 
tendrils of the vine or iv}% feel after a being possessed of more than 
human sympathy ; one who can be confided in, in times of weak- 
ness, and trusted unhesitatingly in seasons of desertion and despair. 

It is related of Napoleon, that on one occasion he was crossing 
the Mediterranean, on his Egyptian expedition, in company with 
certain philosophers of the Voltaire-Diderot school. During a brief 
discussion, which occurred as they gathered on the vessel's deck on 
a beautiful evening, when the stars were shining in all their beauty, 
they asserted that there was no God. Napoleon, without stooping 
to debate the question, simply pointed upwards to the heavens and 
said, " Gentlemen, who made these stars ?" 

The first chapter of Genesis, has been for ages and still is, as we 
have seen, the battle ground of rationalism and faith. What Carlylc 
says of it all Christians believe : " that the sublime account of cre- 
ation given so concisely, is in advance of all theories, for it is God's 
truth, and as such, is the only key to the mystery of the origin of 
matter. Science and savans can never find out any other, although 
they may dream about it." If the simple statement contained in 


the first verse of Genesis be accepted as true, then Atheism IS 

But the existence of a God and a Creator may be admitted, 
while the method of creation may be denied. The first chapter of 
Genesis however, not only asserts the fact that matter is the pro- 
duction of the Almighty, but that out of matter, by successive cre- 
ations he made everything that we see, in the animate and inani- 
mate world. Evolution or Development, or Darwinianism, if by 
this we understand the power of matter to transform itself into 
suns and systems and living organisms, is alike opposed to reason 
and revelation. " You may be pleased, said the author formerly 
quoted when addressing a company of LITERATI, to trace your 
descent from a tadpole and an ape, but I would exclaim with 
David : ' Lord thou hast made me but a little lower than the 
angels.' " 

There is nothing in the universe, but what has sprung directly 
from God's hand. The wild theories of certain skeptical astrono- 
mers, that the source of matter has been discovered, and the limits 
of creation reached, in a nebulous fluid, or star dust, which becomes 
solid and revolves itself into stars and worlds, is not necessarily 
athiestic. God might in this, as by the direct method, have created 
the world. But if such theories are intended to prove the eternity 
and spontaneity of matter, they are false. Science never has pro- 
duced a single instance, of inert matter becoming instinct with life, 
or changed into a shining world. The telescope has nov/ resolved 
the nebulous fluid on the outskirts of creation into stars and clus- 
ters of stars, in harmony with the language of inspiration, " He 
made the stars also." 

The sun and moon and planets appear comparatively vast, and 
worthy the majesty and omnipotence of a God. We know more 
of their uses than the stars. The distance of some of these stars 
is simply incomprehensible. In eight minutes light rushes from 
the sun, but from the highest fixed star it comes not in less than 


ten years ! Some of these stars are larger than our moon or earth. 
Nor is the sun itself stationary. Though separated from the 
" Pleiades." thirty-four millions of times greater than the distance 
between the sun and earth, it is yet attracted by the central star of 
that brilliant cluster ! What vast consequences depend upon that 
one little star, that shines out upon the brow of midnight, like the 
point of a diamond ! 

But not only the greater, but the lesser lights of heaven, are the 
Creator's handiwork. Nothing has been made in vain. Their uses 
to the mariner on the ocean are too well known to need more than 
a passing- mention. Whether they are inhabited, or have been 
created simply to give light, or gardens of beauty, such as was 
paradise before man's fall, we cannot tell. Leaving all speculation 
aside, we know they are not failures, nor abortive attempts at mak- 
ing planets — " lumps which have flown from the potter's wheel — 
coils from his mighty lathe, or sparks which have darted from his 
awful anvil when God was forging the solar system." No ! 

" All are but parts of one stupendous whole, 
Whose body nature is and God the soul." 

The poet may be speaking but the simple truth when he says : 

" Each of these stars is a religious house ; 
I saw their altars smoke, their incense rise. 
And heard hosannahs ring through every sphere. 
The great proprietor's all bounteous hand 
Leaves nothmg waste, but sows these fiery fields 
With seeds of reason, which to virtue rise 
Beneath his genial ray," 

If, then, these myriad stars are all sustained by the one infinite 
God, gravitation is but another name for Omnipotent power. Like 
God's attributes, all of which are alike necessary to the complete 
glory of the Divine Being, so the smallest star is requisite to ensure 
the harmony and stability of the solar system. " Lift up your eyes 
on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth 


out their host by number. He calleth them all by their names by 
the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power ; not one 
faileth. The Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither 
is weary ; there is no searching of his understanding." The falling 
of the snowflake is in obedience to the same law that moves the 
planets in their orbits. 

Which is the greater wonder of creation, the eye of man, or the 
tear which it sheds ? When we think of the origin of this drop of 
moisture, we discover an astonishing product of divine wisdom and 
power. The finest machinery in the universe is that which makes 
a tear, " Heart struggles and soul combinations of thought and 
emotion lie far back in the mysterious laboratories where tears are 
first generated and compounded." The soul struggle which goes 
on far below the weeping eye compels the hidden fountain to gush 
forth as a spring. Thus tears are in reality thoughts that weep, 
and griefs that speak in dumb petition. The eye and the tear that 
dims it are equally the product of that same wondrous wisdom, 
whose care extends to every creature and every atom of matter. 

There is nothing little in God's estimation. Not only rocks, 
hills and mountains, sea and ocean, but the countless existences 
and forms of life, which can only be seen by the microscope, are 
His handiwork and share His attention. The remains of animal 
life in marble formations, which geology discovers, testify to mani- 
fold generations of living creatures that lived their little life and 
then passed away — but God made them all. The cedar, the sap- 
ling, and the shrub and blade of grass ; the lion and the insect ; the 
ocean and the drop of water ; the hurricane and the zephyr : the 
lightning flash and the sunbeam ; the torrent and the dew-drop, 
alike afford evidence of God's existence, and reveal His constant 
activity in the more subordinate parts of creation : 

" He sees with equal eye, as God of all, 
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall ; 
Atoms or systems into ruin hurled, 
And now a bubble burst, and now a world." 



That men should deny as Materiah'sts do, the existence of a 
supreme being, surrounded as they are by so many footprints of 
the great Creator, seems marvellous. The very stones cry out 
against such blasphemy : 

"No God ! No God ! the simplest flower 
That on the wild is found : 
^ Shrinks as It drinks its cup of dew, 

And trembles at the sound : 
"No God !" astonished echo cries, 
From out her cavern hoar : 
And every wandering bird that flies. 
Reproves the Athiest lore." 

But while Atheism in the abstract is rare at the present day. 
there are many who wish there were no God. Men of godless, 
debauched, unprincipled lives would have it so. Atheism giv^es 
momentary relief to such souls. No God, means no judgment day 
— no hell — no eternity of misery. Annihilation is a coveted end 
to a life of moral ruin ! 

Practical Atheism is aiso found in company with most respect- 
able creeds and orthodox churches. Men who would not for the 
world be branded as Atheists live such lives, as can only be ac- 
counted for on the supposition that belief in a Divine Being has 
been renounced as false and foolish. Bad as human nature is, 
there are crimes and courses of sin, which men engage in, that are 
only possible, where the conscience is paralyzed and man reduced 
to a level with the brute creation 1 

It is perfectly possible to reach that point. Apostacy from 
the faith is most frequently reached through deflection from 
virtue. When the obligations and restraints of religion become 
irksome and oppressive, it is the most natural of all things to 
take refuge in Atheism ! By a long course of wickedness, con- 
science becomes so debauched and degraded, that what in other 


conditions would be regarded as hideous and revolting becomes 
suffcrable and facinating. 

"Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, 
As, to be hated, needs but to be seen ; 
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face. 
We first endure, then pity, then embrace." 

See that little child at its mother's knee, lisping its evening 
prayer. Between that sweet emblem of innocence and the unfallen 
angels that hover over it, there seems but little space. You would 
hardly believe that such simple childlike faith would ever change 
to coarse, unreasoning Atheism. But it does — and how? The 
child grows up to manhood. The time comes when he must go 
forth into the world, where, unless followed by the guardian angels 
of his infancy, he is beset at every point with the devil's snares ! 
Finally, there comes the crisis of his fate, when perdition in time 
and eternity, or a christian manhood rich in good deeds and cer- 
tain of a blessed hereafter, tremble in the balance ! He yields, and 
takes his place on that inclined plane that leads to infamy. And 
now gradually, but surely, the breach is widened between him and 
purity, until at last it seems impossible to go back. Standing like 
the petrified, horror-struck Indian, who awakes when too late to 
find his canoe in the boiling rapids ; face to face with a dreadful 
eternity ; character and reputation gone ; the physical and mental 
and moral energies worn out and wasted, he cries out, " No God ! 
No God !" Such an affirmation cannot be accepted as the voice of 
reason. It is worth as little as is the defiant bearing of the mur- 
derer who steps nimbly upon the scaffold, with apparently no 
concern about his soul, which is soon to pass into the presence of 
its Judge. 

There is another reason why men bring themselves to say 
" No God." Delay in punishment strengthens unbelief in an aveng- 
ing Providence. " Because sentence ag^ainst evil is not executed 


speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them 
to do evil." 

" Tremble, thou wretch, 

That hast within thee undivulged crimes 

Unwhipped of justice." 

says the poet ; but so long as crime remains unpunished, men 
grow defiant rather than timid. They mistake the mercy and for- 
bearance of God for weakness. They become bold and reckless 
and attempt greater monstrosities. "God hath forgotten. He 
will never see it. How doth God know? Can He judge through 
the dark cloud? Is there knowledge in the Most High?" It 
seems strange to such characters that justice should not track them, 
and the marks of God's vengeance brand them before the world. 
And when, on the contrary, they prosper in their wickedness ; 
when it is found no inconvenience in so-called christian societies to 
lead immoral lives, need we wonder though men should say " No 
God — no God ?" 

There is a period at hand when Atheists will find the awful con- 
sequences of such a life. Saying " no God," or wishing there was 
no God, does not in the least affect the reality of God's existence. 
If the sinner could by his Atheism destroy the God he hates and 
fears, there were some reason, although much wickedness, in his 
unbelief But as denying the existence of fire and water does not 
prevent these agencies burning or devouring a man, so doubting 
the existence of God will not stop the Judge of all the earth from 
destroying the rebel who breaks his laws. There is another scene 
beyond the present where self-deception ends : 

"Man is one world, and hath 
Another to attend him." 

The thought of death makes cowards of the most defiant skep- 
tics. They quail at his approach : 

" The grave ; dread thing ! 
Men shiver when thou'rt named : Nature appall'd 
Shakes off her wonted firmness." 


And why? Because death is not an eternal sleep. It does not 
end the heart-ache ; it does not silence conscience ; it does not blot 
out memory ; it is but the beginning of an existence commensurate 
with eternity. But why should such an endless state of being seem 
so terrible and uninviting? The Atheist himself, surely in his 
better moments, might shrink from annihilation — and so he would, 
were it not that destruction of soul and body is preferable to the 
worm that dies not and the fire that is not quenched. " A shamed 
life is, indeed," as the poet says, " a hateful one," but death is a 
fearful thing : 

" To die, and go we know not where ; 
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot ; 
This sensible warm motion to become 
A kneaded clod ; * * * 'Tis too horrible ' 
The weariest and most loathed worldly life 
That age, ache, penury and imprisonment 
Can lay on nature, is a paradise 
To what we fear of death." 

The soul is immortal ; the decisions of the day of judgment, 
which are irrevocable, determine its condition throughout eternity. 
"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." Every 
one must give an account of himself to God. The dead, small 
and great, shall stand before God. The Archangel's trump shall 
sound ; the sea give up its dead ; the graves shall give up their 
prey ! All shall appear — from Adam, the first of the human family, 
down to the unconscious babe, that last entered life ! The scrutiny 
is rigid — the reward impartial. " There is nothing hid that shall 
not be revealed : whatsoever ye have spoken in the darkness shall 
be heard in the light ; that which ye have spoken in the car in 
closets shall be proclaimed on the housetop. God shall bring every 
work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or 
whether it be evil." Escape there is none ; mitigation there is 
none ; appeal there is none 1 


"O, that fire ! before whose face, 
Heaven and earth snail find no place. 
O, those eyes ! whose angry light 
Must be the day of that dread night. 

O that trump, whose blast shall run 
An evea round with the circling sun, 
And urge the murmuring graves to bring 
Pale mankmd forth to meet his Kmg. 

O, that Book ! whose leaves so bright 
Will set the world in severe light. 
O, that Judge ! whose hand, whose eye, 
None can endure, yet none can fly." 


" The day of wrath " spoken s